It’s the fall of 1985. The intertwining tales of three 5th grade friends, Chris, Joe and Ted, unfold in the suburban paradise of Palo Alto, as the threat of a mountain lion looms over the community. Chris drives up to Yosemite for the weekend with his dad and discovers a corpse in the woods. Joe, left to his own devices by his babysitter, befriends a lonely drifter who shares his love of comic books. Meanwhile, a mountain lion is spotted in Palo Alto in broad daylight and Ted searches for his cat, who has gone missing… Based on the short stories “Yosemite” and “Peter Parker” from James Franco’s collection A California Childhood.
“Yosemite” is Monterey’s second film in a lineup in conjunction with The Art of Elysium following the Beverly Hills theatrical premiere of “Forever”. 100% of the funds from these films go to The Art of Elysium, a charity that is committed to healing the world through art by recruiting, supporting and encouraging artists to give back to individuals and populations in need to bring the arts to hospitalized youth, elders and the homeless community by using their creativity and artistry. For more information please visit: http://theartofelysium.org/
Yosemite is a naturalistic and intimate coming of age drama about three 10-year old boys, growing up in Silicon Valley in 1985, a place on the brink of technological and cultural change. Against this backdrop, the stories of Chris, Joe and Ted portray a specific time in childhood, from the end of innocence to awareness.
In the course of the film, each boy encounters death and, in his own way, confronts the fear it creates. Chris discovers a dead body in Yosemite and finds that his dad is unable to provide him with the comfort he is looking for. Joe, similarly left to his own devices to mourn his little brother’s death, finds an unexpected confidante in Henry, an older boy in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Ted grapples with his own power to harm and relationship to evil when his cat goes missing. In the process of grieving, each boy takes a decisive step towards growing up and solidifying his relationship to the outside world.
The film is set in the mid-1980s, a time that sees the rise of consumer media culture, along with the start of milk carton campaigns, symptomatic of the fear that kids are under attack in an increasingly menacing world. Chris, Joe and Ted enjoy a freedom that will soon be unheard of, walking home from school on their own, mostly unsupervised. At the same time, they begin to feel the effects of a dwindling sense of community, with Silicon Valley parents too consumed by their work and worries to offer guidance or support. For example, Ted’s father, a computer engineer, spends his nights on The Well, an early Internet chat room, as Ted struggles to grow up on his own. By setting Yosemite in the pre-Internet era, I hope to show the ways in which technology has transformed the way we connect with each other.
Yosemite also explores the tensions between nature and technology, which have made us increasingly at odds with the natural world. Palo Alto, a continually expanding suburb, exists on the border of California wilderness. In the film, the characters view nature as both a path towards spiritual salvation and a source of fear. Chris’s dad, a recovering alcoholic, takes his sons to Yosemite in the hopes that communing with nature will help begin a new chapter in his life as a father. Meanwhile, back in Palo Alto, the looming threat of a mountain lion attack causes the suburban community great anxiety. Nature has become something we both yearn for and fear because we cannot control it.
At its core however, Yosemite is a story about friendship and human connection. Chris’s inability to earn his father’s love partly causes him to be a bully at school, while Joe’s friendship with Henry allows him to make peace with himself, and support Ted in his mourning. Together, through empathy, the boys are able to overcome their fear of the unknown. Yosemite hopes to create a powerful experience of childhood, while reminding us of the need to take care of our fragile ties to each other.
Starring: James Franco (Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe Winner, 2-time Independent Spirit Award Winner; 127 Hours, Milk, This is the End, Spider-Man, The Interview), Henry Hopper (Restless, The Color of Time), Everett Meckler (Emily and Billy), Alec Mansky, Calum John (Monsters University).
‘Yosemite’ plays at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center on Monday, August 8.
For showtimes and more information, visit mvfilmsociety.com
Article Source: montereymedia.com