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'The Last New Yorker' - L.A. Needs to Make a Film Like This
At the NYC screening of 'The Last New Yorker' from Thomas Attila Lewis on Vimeo.
At a screening of Harvey Wang's The Last New Yorker, we spoke to Wang and cast members Dominic Chianese (aka Junior Soprano from "The Sopranos"), Kathleen Chalfant (multi-Obie winner and Sean's Ma from "Rescue Me"), and Tony Award-winner Dick Latessa about the themes of the film: gentrification, the loss of city history, and the search for love, particularly the search for love by older people.
In talking with them and watching the film, it struck us how a film like this needs to be made for Los Angeles. Several of the old-time locations of The Last New Yorker have disappeared since filming concluded in 2006 and from personal experience we know that Los Angeles is losing its past at a much faster rate despite the best efforts of groups like PreserveLA and others.
Not only are these locations disappearing, but the people who have seen Los Angeles go through such monumental changes are also disappearing - people who could talk about actually riding streetcars and walking through orange groves 50 years ago. In The Last New Yorker, Chianese plays a bit of a crank, crass and pushy, but wouldn't you have to be to survive just the never-ending real estate valuation climb New York has gone through for coming on 100 years. But even a crank needs love and he seeks the affections of the mystery-woman played by Kathleen Chalfant. This is another thing that amazes us, that one of the largest growing segments of our population, those 60+, have hardly any films made about them and their experiences.
Since Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, we would think we'd see more films about Los Angeles and its changes (beyond Chinatown) as well as characters who have lived through this flux.
In the meantime, we'll have to wait for the example set by The Last New Yorker to make it to LA on the festival circuit and/or DVD.
For more info on The Last New Yorker, check out its website as well as Harvey Wang's.
Harvey Wang's 'The Last New Yorker'
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