The Messenger

Faux Real: (Truth Telling in Narrative Film)

Oren Moverman, 2009, 113 min.

Ben Foster stars as Will Montgomery, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front. When he finds himself drawn to Olivia (Samantha Morton), to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband’s death, Will’s emotional detachment begins to dissolve and the film reveals itself as a surprising, humorous, moving and very human portrait of grief, friendship, and survival. 

Q&A with Dir. Oren Moverman, actor Ben Foster, and composer Nathan Larson

Faux Real (Truth Telling in Narrative Film): Nueba Yol 

Angel Muniz, 1995, 120 min.

This tragic-comic chronicle of an immigrant's struggle to make a new life in New York City has been considered a cult classic since it first came out. Amiable, big-hearted Balbuena, grieving over the recent demise of his much-loved wife, decides he needs a change and so listens to the exciting pie-in-the-sky talk of his buddy Fellito who suggest that Balbuena leave the Dominican Republic and move to Nueba Yol (the Big Apple). The widower goes up and stays with his cousin's family. Instead of finding a better life there he finds himself surrounded by grayness, uncaring bustle and society's grime. The prospect of easy money Fellito raved about is nonexistent for an illegal alien such as himself. Instead, he finds only the most menial, lowest paying jobs available to him. Balbuena finally meets a nice woman, but ironically, she is planning to return to the Dominican Republic.