The actors in A Street in Palermo (Via Castellana Bandiera) give such natural performances, you'll think you're watching a documentary tonight at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
I have been assured it is not. Some family fishermen pile into a car driven by the near-mute, white-haired mother-in-law of the patriarch. Just before they reach their home along narrow and dusty Via Castellana Bandiera, they are stopped by a lesbian couple's car moving in the opposite direction.
What follows is the stand-off to end all stand-offs as both drivers–who, ironically, never wanted to be in their vehicles for their respective trips in the first place–are too stubborn to back up and let the other pass.
Pretty soon everyone on Via Castellana Bandiera gets involved, and we get a glimpse of life in that part of Sicily. It's a fascinating, very slow burn, but I pity the distributor trying to market Emma Dante's odd little picture. (2:45 p.m. Fashion Island Cinemas)