Expired May 28, 2021 1:59 AM
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From the opening shot, the esthetic of the loner invisible in the crowded environ of New York City who just wants to connect with someone sets the tone of our protagonist’s world. Gilbert, short, obese and not particularly attractive exists in a world dominated by several factors; his acute awareness of his lack of status, his obsession with his attractive abused neighbor- excellently portrayed by Dascha Polanco, the conflicted memories of his dynamic unsupportive deceased father and his controlling oppressive mother. He speaks to us as narrator of his own life and through his fixation with taking cellphone pictures of beautiful women rather than speaking to them.

In a truly stunning performance writer/director Adrian Martinez embodies the moments of cultural failure and disconnection we all feel from time to time. But this is his day-to-day existence and something has to change. A chance observation of a street crime catapults him into a local hero and this is the opportunity to rise above his anonymous status. But life is more complicated than that. The film successfully performs the delicate balancing act of representing Gilbert as a hero, loner, creepy stalker and nice guy looking for love and acceptance. The film has many scenes where the viewer may simply want to turn away from the screen but can’t. The strong performances of Dascha Polanco (Orange is the New Black), Socorro Santiago as his tragically conflicted mom and Mozhan Marno as the city detective who sees him as a damaged man in a city of broken souls, round out a stellar cast.

iGilbert is the first writing/direct feature effort of the immensely versatile Adrian Martinez. It is infused with a heavy doses of Hispanic cultural, true New York visuals and a sense of the phoenix rising from the flames. Every character has an easily digestible amount of daily pain and little avenue for successful expression or self-healing. That is the well written essence of the film. They are us and we empathize with them but thank God we are not them every day – hopefully.

— Eric Cotten, Festival Programming Associate, MdFF 2021

Content Considerations: Depictions of abuse, attempted rape, homophobic language, sexual harassment, and sexual assault

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with Writer/Director, Adrian Martinez and actor, Dascha Polanco (Jana) moderated by Festival Programming Associate, Eric Cotten.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    90 minutes
  • Language
    English, Spanish
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Adrian Martinez
  • Screenwriter
    Adrian Martinez
  • Producer
    Cynthia Hargrave, Nicole Sylvester, Kate Balandina, Adrian Martinez
  • Executive Producer
    Adrian Martinez, José Rivera
  • Cast
    Adrian Martinez, Dascha Polanco, Raúl Castillo, Socorro Santiago, Emilio Delgado, Mozhan Marnò
  • Cinematographer
    Jon Carr
  • Editor
    Shonnard Hedges, Morgan A. Neville
  • Production Design
    Teressa Tunney
  • Composer
    Gil Talmi, Gisela Fullá-Silvestre
  • Sound Design
    Eli Cohn