Choking Man

Undiscovered gems return to Capawock

Posted February 22, 2007

This month, the Capawock Theater continues its Undiscovered Gems series with two very different films - "The Choking Man," and "Flannel Pajamas."

The Choking Man

"The Choking Man" deals with immigrants searching for the American dream, a familiar topic in our own community. The movie was written and directed by Steve Barron, who also directed "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Coneheads."

The film's main character is Jorge (Octavio Gomez Berrios), a shy man from Ecuador who works in a diner and is currently "choking" on his dream of reaching success in America.

Mr. Barron's film is rich in symbolism, from the Heimlich maneuver poster that hangs over Jorge in the diner kitchen to the setting in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y., the most multi-cultural place in America with over 140 languages spoken, according to the New York Times. In this crowded and bubbling city, shy Jorge hardly seems to speak any language, and no one seems to notice him.

The film deals heavily with the contemporary immigrant experience in America, and "the feeling of claustrophobia and almost literal asphyxiation newcomers to America experience as they struggle to find a place and purpose in this strange land," according to the director's statement.

As if life alone in a new country wasn't tough enough, Jorge finds it even more difficult managing a silent love for the new, beautiful waitress, Amy (Eugenia Yuan). Amy is an immigrant from Korea, and the irony continues with the idea that the distance between the two immigrants may be too much.

Awarded the "best film not playing in a theater near you," at the Gotham City Film Festival, the story is surely an undiscovered gem.

"The Choking Man," 4 and 7:30 pm, Sunday, Feb. 25, Capawock Theater, Vineyard Haven, 83 minutes, unrated.

Flannel Pajamas

Flannel Pajamas

In "Flannel Pajamas," it all starts with a blind date in New York City, and continues with a love made strong through the daily occurrences of real life.

Nicole Reilly (Julianne Nicholson) and Stuart Sawyer (Justin Kirk) fall in love due to their fantastic chemistry when they instantly connect on their first date. Despite their differences - Nicole is younger, looking for direction, coping with the new city life after being raised in a large, Montana-based family, while Stuart is a lonely but confident man with a high-powered Broadway job - their relationship eventually develops into a marriage.

However, great loves seem to have even greater obstacles. For Stuart and Nicole, critical friends, extremely demanding relatives, different religions, and time-consuming careers are just a few roadblocks to happiness.

"Flannel Pajamas" was written and directed by Jeff Lipsky, a 30-year veteran in the world of independent film marketing and co-founder of two successful film distribution companies, October Films and Lot 47 Films. An official selection in the dramatic competition at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, the film is a look into a love with no frills, no easy answers, no heroes, and no villains.

"Flannel Pajamas," 4 and 7:30 pm, Wednesday, Feb. 28, Capawock Theater, Vineyard Haven, 124 minutes, Rated R.