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Notes From the Rooftop: Zachary Raines’ “Freeloader”

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Still from Zachary Raines "Freeloader"

We are pleased to introduce our newest contributor, Tobi Elkin. She checked out the second night of the Rooftop Films Summer Series 2011 and sent us this dispatch:

We hit the roof on Saturday night for Rooftop Films’ opening weekend at 350 Grand St. at the “Open Road Rooftop” otherwise known as the old Seward Park High School. We were greeted by enthusiastic organizers on a rooftop filled with people despite the chilly night and threat of rain. We found seats in a mid-section of the roof – mostly all views are great.

Rooftop screenings are always preceded by live music—last night’s artist, Emily Reo, sings and plays a sort of other-worldly electronica, a nice warm-up to the main event. The featured film, the world premiere of Zachary Raines’ “Freeloader,” was billed as a black comedy about a down-on-his-luck 30-something dude. Frank is unemployed and lives with his girlfriend who has been supporting him. Their relationship breaks up and he proceeds to sponge off his endearing friend and a quirky banker who’s trying to find the confidence to be a stand-up comedian.

The film’s mumblecore monotony isn’t helped by the utter lack of action or plot: About the only thing Frank ever does in is drink beer friends pay for and sleep off hangovers. And he pukes during an awkward tryst with a girl he picks up at the bar. Bitter and entitled, he’s simply not likeable. But the silliest, most laughable bits belong to Frank as he moronically tries to gain the upper hand on his misfortune. He shamelessly worms his way back to his much too forgiving girlfriend—at least temporarily. Ultimately, Frank runs out on his luck in Atlantic City where he is forced to confront himself. “Freeloader” was shot in Brooklyn where Sunset Park and Greenwood Cemetery make prominent appearances.

Mark Rosenberg, founder and artistic director of Rooftop Films, noted that 2011 marks Rooftop’s 15th year with 45 screenings across 13 different New York City locations. Check out the complete list of Rooftop Films’ screenings here.

Tobi Elkin is a writer, editor and interviewer who lives in the Lower East Side and is a regular reader of The Lo-Down. Her diverse interests include arts and entertainment, film, food and cultural critique.

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  1. “utter lack of action or plot…”

    This was “Freeloader,” not “Cliffhanger.”  Now go rent “Tango and Cash.”  Accompany with an endless supply of bon-bons.

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