Meet Ry Russo-Young director of YOU WONT MISS ME

Meet Ry Russo-Young director of YOU WONT MISS ME, an official selection in the New Frontier Competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

SCREENWRITERS: Ry Russo-Young, Stella Schnabel
U.S.A., 2009, 81 min., color & b/w

Ry Russo-Young creates an engrossing character portrait in this deceptively compact, but exquisitely layered, feature. Stella Schnabel portrays Shelly, the daughter of famous, successful (and emotionally removed) parents, Shelly strives to make her own mark and find affirmation, but her life’s landscape is littered with dilemmas. Setting her sights on an acting career, Shelly displays a ferocious emotional intensity that keeps her from getting jobs. Friendships, especially with other women, become fraught arenas of blaming and posing. Casual encounters with men offer little hope of romance. Even her supportive best friend Simon finds it necessary to draw boundaries where Shelly is concerned. Returning regularly to a psychiatric hospital, Shelly is repeatedly counseled by the resident shrink, who tries to give her a leg up on the go-nowhere cycles of her life. Is there still time?

Russo-Young renders this depiction of intersecting dead ends with an astute and exactingly measured empathy. Her searching, elliptical narrative structure and compact, concentrated mise-en-scène astutely underline the lonesome self-sabotage involved when self-reliance becomes an armor against intimacy and, particularly, when a woman’s affirmation continually rests in the hands of some man. Subtly mannered performances and an evocative score round out this knowing portrait, viewed from outside and in. —SHANNON KELLEY

Ci: Kitao Sakurai, Ku-Ling Siegel Ed: Gil Kofman, Ry Russo-Young So: Andrew Barchilon, Micah Bloomberg Com: Will Bates Principal Cast: Stella Schnabel, Simon O’Connor, Carlen Altman, Rene Ricard, Sarah Ball, Donald Eric Cumming