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Magdalen
     

Magdalen

Director: Andrew Repasky McElhinney, Alix D. Smith, David Semonin, Moira Rankin

Cast: Andrew Repasky McElhinney, Alix D. Smith, David Semonin, Moira Rankin

 
A woman, Magdalen McElhinney (Alix D. Smith), sits in a sleazy Philadelphia bar, offering herself for a price. But she's not selling sex; she's selling stories, and men and women come in and lay money down to hear her tales. One of her more demanding customers, Mr. Jones (Terry Jones) is an angry black businessman. He pays to hear the same erotic story again and again

Overview

A woman, Magdalen McElhinney (Alix D. Smith), sits in a sleazy Philadelphia bar, offering herself for a price. But she's not selling sex; she's selling stories, and men and women come in and lay money down to hear her tales. One of her more demanding customers, Mr. Jones (Terry Jones) is an angry black businessman. He pays to hear the same erotic story again and again, though he's never satisfied with the way Magdalen tells it. "You have to tell people what they want to hear," he chastises. Another bar patron, Jace (Jace Gaffney), is a blocked novelist. He talks to Nathan (Nathan Hopson), a struggling actor, about his visit to Magdalen. He wasn't impressed with the story she told, about her father, an egomaniacal bisexual filmmaker named Andrew who screws over everyone, but Jace plans to incorporate Magdalen into his novel. Magdalen is also "hired" by an older gentleman (David Semonin) who claims to be a virgin, and a mysterious elderly woman (Moira Rankin), who seems to know the story before Magdalen tells it. In between her "sessions," we see Magdalen record a video diary (mostly about her troubled relationship with her arrogant, destructive filmmaker father). There's also a dream sequence in which she confronts her father (played by the filmmaker, Andrew Repasky McElhinney), the source of most of her stories, and he discusses his own confused childhood. "If you don't like my stories, change them," he tells her. Magdalen, McElhinney's first feature, was made when he was still a teenager.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Andrew Repasky McElhinney's precocious first feature, Magdalen, is an amusingly self-obsessed and drolly postmodern examination of the nature of being an artist. While obviously a low-budget film, Magdalen displays a well-developed visual style and a promising self-aware wit. Shot in black-and-white, the film is a series of monologues and dialogues, interrupted by a couple of musical interludes romanticizing the city of Philadelphia. It's essentially talky, but McElhinney balances the sometimes-rambling chatter with keen-eyed compositions that allude to the glory days of the early sound era. The project's modest means are counterbalanced by the filmmaker's ironically outsized sense of self-importance, as McElhinney's presence overwhelms both the squalid milieu and the scattershot narrative. The main character, storyteller Magdalen McElhinney (played with just the right degree of cynical knowingness by Alix D. Smith), obsessively describes her rapacious father, "Andrew" and his various loves and losses, and he's eventually revealed to be the filmmaker himself (though he's years younger than Smith) in an entertainingly egotistic dream sequence. This sequence is the core of the film, as McElhinney, nattily dressed in a white suit, offers no defense against his alleged legions of detractors. Magdalen tells him that people don't like him, because "you're pretentious and you speak in clichés." He responds, "Maybe I'm a walking stereotype," but his matter-of-factness itself belies his self-satisfaction. While his fey self-absorption is sure to put off some, the film ends, appropriately enough, with Edith Piaf singing "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien."

Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2004
UPC:
0089218100597
Original Release:
1996
Rating:
NR
Source:
Alpha Video
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:10:00
Sales rank:
81,698

Special Features

[None specified]

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [10:09]
2. Chapter 2 [11:15]
3. Chapter 3 [11:44]
4. Chapter 4 [10:45]
5. Chapter 5 [9:10]
6. Chapter 6 [12:39]

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