Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Derek Cianfrance made his directorial debut with this noir-styled drama based on the real-life friendship of lead actor Keith Zimmerman and a black ex-con -- along with the apparent influence of Elia Kazan's 1955 film-adaptation of John Steinbeck's East of Eden. Cal (Zimmerman), the sensitive younger brother of Aaron (Jason Hauser), is friends with black barber Cassius (Carey Westbrook). At a Christmas party, Aaron picks a fight with Cassius. When Cal stands up for Cassius instead of siding with his brother, tensions erupt. In a parallel with the Kazan film, both brothers are attracted to the same woman, Camille (Christina Chang), who is initially attached to Cal. At their mother's house, Cal is stunned to realize that Aaron is dating Camille. Cal's brother and mother, who cuts him off, both leave him feeling painfully alienated from his family. Filmed in black-and-white and color, the story spans an entire year, from one Christmas to the next Christmas. Shown at 1998 film festivals (Berlin, Sundance).
actor, alienation, barber, brother, fight, friendship, love, love-triangle, party, sibling, tension