EVERYDAY PEOPLE

Everyday People

Monday, June 4

Screening at 9:15pm on Monday, June 4!

Admission to EVERYDAY PEOPLE is free when you purchase a ticket to GIRLS TOWN, screening right before at 7:00pm on June 4!

“Another intimately scaled drama from perhaps the most humanistic miniaturist working in American independent film, Jim McKay’s first 35mm feature, “Everyday People,” is — as its title suggests — rich in the kind of bittersweet observations of ordinary folks that distinguished “Girls Town” and “Our Song.”…

Set in a Brooklyn diner and interweaving the personal stories of the local institution’s staff and customers, the contemporary drama explores complex themes regarding the interaction and communication between people of different backgrounds and makes poignant acknowledgment of the losses that come with the gentrification of urban neighborhoods. The screenplay was distilled by McKay from some 60 stories pertaining to race issues collected from real people in a project initiated by author and exec producer Nelson George and funded by HBO.

Jewish-owned restaurant Raskin’s serves as a cohesive framework for those stories and an effective microcosm for the broader community. Principal conflict comes from the decision of owner Ira (Jordan Gelber) to sell to developers planning an upscale transformation of the four surrounding city blocks.

The film begins as long-serving maitre d’ Arthur (Stephen McKinley Henderson) announces to the staff Ira’s intention to close in three weeks. Like Arthur, many of them have no alternative employment prospects. Providing a faux documentary-style glimpse into the various lives, McKay considers what the diner’s closing will mean to several characters. Among them are cashier Joleen (Bridget Barkan), a single mother; kitchen hand Samuel (Billoah Greene), who’s due to leave for college; waitress Erin (Sydnee Stewart), determined to break away from her upper-middle-class family and become a poet; and dishwasher Sol (Stephen Axelrod), a Jewish ex-con, ex-junkie and former doctor, angry about the turn his life has taken.

McKay unifies the broad-ranging mosaic, deftly channeling his conclusion through a lazily flirtatious cocktail-hour fixture (Verna Hobson) who admonishes Ron by saying, “You can’t wash out all the color and keep the flavor.”

Shot by “Girls Town” lenser Russell Lee Fine in a crisp, composed style that brings clarity, texture and a strong sense of the community’s vitality, the film’s gentle, melancholy mood is echoed in the melodic score by composer Marc Anthony Thompson, who also appears as a musician.” — excerpted from David Rooney’s Variety review

Screening as part of our series Everyday People: The Films of Jim McKay in preparation for McKay’s newest film, EN EL SÉPTIMO DÍA, opening at IFC Center on Friday, June 8.

  • Country USA
  • Year 2004
  • Running Time 91 minutes
  • Director Jim McKay
  • Writer Jim McKay
  • Editor Alex Hall
  • Cinematographer Russell Lee Fine
  • Cast Nathan De'Shon Myers, Jordan Gelber, Bridget Barkan