The Extra Man and Cairo Time

The opening night of the Independent Film Festival of Boston is like a mini red carpet rolled out in Somerville, but already, the carpet has been rolled up and the festival has ended. I did catch two great films though. This year’s opener, The Extra Man, stars Kevin Kline as an eccentric gentleman who is an escort—er, companion—to older ladies, grooming the younger Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) for the same role. Based on the novel by Jonathan Ames, the filmmaker had a lot of fantastic dialogue to mine, and Kline delivered the lines as only he can.

Kline appeared after the screening to receive an achievement award and answered questions from the crowd about his theater background and preparation for his roles. He was charming, funny, and humble—too humble to allow for a film clip compilation in his honor, which is too bad, because one of my favorite movie scenes is when his A Fish Called Wanda character opens a safe that promises to be packed with jewelry or money or something only to find it empty, and he yells in his understated way, “Dis-a-ppointed!”

Cairo Time stars Patricia Clarkson and the compelling Alexander Siddig in a restrained drama with a dose of forbidden romance as the two meander through bright, bustling Cairo. Simple story, strong acting, and a city that’s a character of its own, made for a satisfying experience.

Director Ruba Nadda was on hand for a Q & A following the screening, and while the praise was lavish, there were a couple of film flams who nitpicked about the dialects and shots of the pyramids that to one woman seemed fake, but, according to Nadda, were not. Why would you criticize a director who’s excited to see her film showing at the festival? It’s just not the venue. Not to say you can’t offer criticism, but this screening just didn’t feel like the forum. I thought it was me, but when I saw another filmgoer outside, we both said, What was that? People are crazy, moviegoers especially. And yeah, I’m one of them.

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