Audrey N. Glickman
From generation to generation is such a huge presumption. What happens when common sense threatens to skip a generation? Is that the end of the line?
I just took in the premiere of Jack & the Treehouse, a film written and directed by Jim Schneider. This film is a study in ledor vador, from generation to generation.
It presents us with a microcosm of what my son assures me my generation is leaving to his: a planet of humans bereft of common sense, willing to ignore prior generations and sell their birthrights for money. Yes, we have heard this tale before, but in this film the young man, Jack (played impeccably by Eamonn McElfresh), takes a stand. And what a stand!
I mean, what would you do if your father threatened to sell your birthright?
A long-time dream and intensive project of director/writer/co-producer Jim Schneider, the film is replete with a broken father (literally), a wise and loving grandfather, and a mother who takes way too long to recognize that her son’s inheritance does not come automatically, that she actually has to participate in the transfer (she waits tables for a living, but finds it hard to serve her family when she is needed). The schoolmate of the boy, emphasizing the outlook of their generation, takes everything in stride as if all is perfectly normal, though it is far from mundane. She is as solidly in the moment as is her friend. I hope that our coming generation really is as depicted here – quite able to tackle what we are passing along to them.
The music composed and performed by Andy Fite is tremendous. Production design by Gary Kosko is a blend of nature and middle American, woodsy without being rustic, down to the perfect treehouse. And cinematography by Mary Barr, and all the wonderful actors – especially young Jocelyn Bowser, who played Jack’s classmate, and Cotter Smith who played the grandfather – mixed together by producers Jack Davis and Jim Schneider create a film that will take you in, hold you, and open your eyes.
Are we born knowing what’s right and what’s wrong? Must it pass actively from generation to generation, or do we inherit it as a part of our genes? And can the third generation wrest its inheritance from the second generation’s damnation of it?
This is a poignant film with outstanding designers, cast, and crew. Look for it in the film festivals and independent theaters coming soon.
The microcosm is well defined, and it’s not always clear what the characters will or should do. In the macrocosm, viewing from our own perch in the treehouse, we recognize ourselves taking pointless positions with lame excuses. Maybe the real (dilemma) is figuring out exactly what that birthright is.
Isn’t this planet our collective birthright? If only we hadn’t misplaced that deed.