Director: Tony Barbieri
Screenwriters: Tony Barbieri

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


What strikes you immediately in One is that it reveals a visual director at work. On a shoestring budget, Tony Barbieri makes every moment count; in fact, he is a master at using each shot to relate a piece of the story. Barbieri and cowriter/actor Jason Cairns have chosen a stylistic minimal reality that is so simple and pure it works perfectly to capture the honesty of this story. One is the tale of two boys (young men actually) in their midtwenties who are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. Once brimming with promise, they have lost their way on the path to manhood. Charlie is fresh from prison, where he served a stint for the euthanasia killing of his grandfather. He moves into the family home of his best friend Nick, a promising baseball star who has been sacked from the Yankee farm team for slugging a manager. Now they must decide to stick together or choose the alternative: facing the world alone.

The cast is remarkable at sustaining long takes and works seamlessly as an ensemble. The actors are especially effective at creating the nuance of a family sagging under the oppression of a demanding father. One is a powerful piece that, whether intentionally or not, is reminiscent of Death of a Salesman, but with a very nineties resonance. In this sensitive study of the delicate nature of the male ego, the characters seem familiar, but their treatment is stark and fresh.

Tony Barbieri, Director
Tony Barbieri was born in 1969 in North Beach, the old Italian section of San Francisco. He attended the College of Marin but decided to move to Europe a year before graduating. He traveled for a while, finally settling in Paris. There Barbieri studied with French visual artist François Matisse, who first exposed him to the French New Wave and the Italian neorealists, two schools that particularly inspired him. One is his first film.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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