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The Pleasure of Being Robbed

Few ticketbuyers will take joy in "The Pleasure of Being Robbed," Joshua Safdie's pranksterish New York indie portrait of a deeply unsympathetic young distaff hustler.

With: Eleonore Hendricks, Joshua Safdie, Wayne Chin, Jordan Zaldez, Jerry Damons, Dawn Glickman, Sam Lisenco, Batman.

Few ticketbuyers will take joy in “The Pleasure of Being Robbed,” Joshua Safdie’s pranksterish New York indie portrait of a deeply unsympathetic young distaff hustler. Vaguely French New Wave-inspired vision of urban delinquency got a Cannes Directors’ Fortnight slot and subsequent IFC Films pickup. But the roughly hourlong film, shot in 16mm, is sub-mumblecore, with sound so lo-fi, it’s nearly no-fi. Some fests will get “Robbed,” but streetwise exhibs should keep their pocketbooks zipped.

Charmless, unclearly motivated protag Eleonore (co-writer Eleonore Hendricks) is introduced conning a stranger before stealing a girl’s kittens and puppy, then a parked Volvo as scruffy hipster acquaintance Josh (Safdie) momentarily steers the sputtering narrative north to Boston. Aforementioned animals remain offputtingly MIA as Eleonore shows relative concern for a Bronx zoo “polar bear” played in absurd costume by co-producer Sam Lisenco. A minor character named in credits as “Hello Beautiful/Handsome Day Maker” is played by an actor known simply as “Batman.” New York location shooting appears aptly purloined, but tech accomplishments, with muffled dialogue and fuzzy imagery, are borderline appalling even by the old-school DIY standards to which the pic pretentiously aspires.

The Pleasure of Being Robbed

Production: An IFC Films release of a Red Bucket Films production. (International sales: Visit Films, New York.) Produced by Brett Jutkiewicz, Zachary Treitz, Sam Lisenco, Joshua Safdie, Alex Orlovsky. Executive producers, Andy Spade, Casey Neistat. Directed by Joshua Safdie. Screenplay, Safdie, Eleonore Hendricks, from a story by Andy Spade, Anthony Sperduti, Safdie.

Crew: Camera (color, 16mm), Brett Jutkiewicz, Safdie; editors, Jutkiewicz, Safdie, Benny Safdie. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 20, 2008. (Also in SXSW Film Festival.) Running time: 68 MIN.

With: With: Eleonore Hendricks, Joshua Safdie, Wayne Chin, Jordan Zaldez, Jerry Damons, Dawn Glickman, Sam Lisenco, Batman.

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