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One Man’s Ceiling

The brothers LaPorta -- Richard behind the camera and Robert in front -- channel both Seinfeld and Beckett in this outrageously funny vision of a deadpan Everyman who has made procrastination an art form. While no-budget, minimalist DV pic requires tremendous audience patience for a payoff.

Cast:
With: Robert LaPorta, Alexa Fischer, David Engel, Richard LaPorta, Maurice Houlahan, Derek Ottens, Dan Bakkedahl, Kyle Hall, Dennis Rohatyn, Bill Hollinsgworth.

The brothers LaPorta — Richard behind the camera and Robert in front — channel both Seinfeld and Beckett in this outrageously funny vision of a deadpan Everyman who has made procrastination an art form. While no-budget, minimalist DV pic requires tremendous audience patience for a payoff, this absurdist curio is a fine calling card and could win some hardcore fans if hooked up to the right cable slot.

Robert plays a sleep-deprived architect, alone in his apartment, coping with day-to-day nuisances like telemarketers, oddball meter readers and surly delivery men who interrupt him while he’s trying to postpone a career decision. He awkwardly puffs cigarettes, flips coins, answers the phone, takes out the garbage –occasionally drifting into unconsciousness and slapsticky waking hallucinations that suggest Tati. Big decision serves pic’s title and concerns choice of tacky decor at a neighborhood restaurant. Pic is shot almost entirely in long, fixed takes which suggest huge chunks of real time. Parallel monologue between Robert and real-life wife Alexa Fischer in a scene devoted to finding a parking space is a comic marvel of communication avoided. Music, particularly muted trumpet solos, adds a nice lonesome quaver.

One Man's Ceiling

Production: A Lost Glove Films production. Produced by Robert LaPorta. Executive producer, Bob LaPorta. Directed, written, edited by Richard LaPorta.

Crew: Camera (digital video), Scott Rolf, LaPorta; music, Josh Abrams and Jeb Bishop; sound design, Cecil Averett; production design, Jamie LaPorta; production supervisor, Birgitta Victorson. Reviewed at the Tribeca Film Center, N.Y., April 23, 2002 (In Tribeca Film Festival -- Competing). Running time: 103 MIN.

With: With: Robert LaPorta, Alexa Fischer, David Engel, Richard LaPorta, Maurice Houlahan, Derek Ottens, Dan Bakkedahl, Kyle Hall, Dennis Rohatyn, Bill Hollinsgworth.

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