Following the June 22 invitational screening of “A Better Life,” Tom Wolfe came onstage at Tribeca Cinemas with director Chris Weitz and thesp Demian Bichir. The 80-year-old author of “Bonfire of the Vanities” and “The Right Stuff” had nothing but praise for the Summit pic, about L.A.’s illegal immigrants.
“American literature until 1939 used to study every last fact of American life, the realism meant everything to them. The movies today are doing what the novelists used to do,” Wolfe said. “This movie does it better than any movie I’ve seen in a long time. It’s the best since ‘Hurt Locker.’ How did you do it?” he asked Weitz.
“As a director we’re trained to think we’re always right and we say what goes,” Weitz began. “To do this movie I had to listen and ask questions and ask for help.”
Weitz got help from a Jesuit priest, Fr. Gerald Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, who gave him “access to East LA.”
Wolfe is working on his on immigrant project, the novel “Back to Blood,” set in Miami and to be published next year. “It’s not about how they get in, but once they’re here,” the scribe of undocumented workers.