What Happened Was...

Director: Tom Noonan
Screenwriters: Tom Noonan

Institute History


The date: a concept begun In puberty, sometimes abandoned for committed relationships, springing up at unexpected—perhaps unwanted moments,
possibly a perennial lifestyle. A form of social confrontation and Interaction that is often pleasurable, yet more often painful Jackie, a secretary In a law firm, invites Michael. a paralegal coworker, to her place for dinner. The film is primarily in Jackie's court. We watch her change clothes five limes before Michael arrives' sexy, sexy-comfortable, nonthreatening, plain, which? Then she rearranges her space, the only locale in the film—a vibrant blue, mysterious loft with a view of looming industrial buildings.

Michael arrives, clutching his briefcase. He is uncomfortable, she is uncomfortable. He has been to Harvard Law School, but didn't graduate. She comes from Brooklyn and the Bronx and has had many demeaning jobs. She is sensual; he acts as if he has never been touched They say things like, "That's a joke, right' Oh, I gel it," and jump from topic to topic. Finally they reach a subject that interests them both—writing. He admits he is working on an expose of the firm; she claims she writes children's fairy tales and he asks her to read one.

At this point, the film and its couple move into a different realm, the "fairy tale" room. Lit by candles, it is as suffocating as the other room is vast She begins to read her tale, a magnificent story of magic, child abuse, terror. When she finishes, Michael is more uncomfortable than ever. Nevertheless they risk a brief moment of intimacy, brought on by the mystery of the fairy tale. The date moves toward its inexorable conclusion as the alienated couple grapple with feelings of unaccepted vulnerability, dashed attraction and miscalculated knowledge.

Has either been changed by this experience? Perhaps not, but we, the third party in this triangle, have been invited to share In a strange intimacy. Even if we refuse, we still have a frame of reference in the netherworld of our own psyches.

Sunday Jan 23 1:20 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II

Monday Jan 24 10:20 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II

Wednesday Jan 26 4:20 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II

Friday Jan 28 Noon
Prospector Square Theatre


— Andrea Alsberg

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


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