`Indie queen' moves on

Film: Parker Posey is ready for some new endeavors.

January 19, 2002|By Ron Dicker | Ron Dicker,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

PARK CITY, Utah - Parker Posey could call the Sundance Film Festival her turf. A few years back, the Baltimore native became known as "Queen of the Indies" for appearing in three movies here. She has acted in more than 30 mostly low-budget productions in the last seven years.

Sitting in a cafe the other day on Main Street, she wasn't feeling nostalgic. She is tired of the indie tag yet continues to align herself with small films such as this year's Personal Velocity, Rebecca Miller's smart take on three women at a crossroads.

"I just want to work," Posey explained. "I worked two weeks this year. It's tough. It's really competitive now as the movie business becomes more of a marketplace and people want to cast stars they feel are bankable."

In Personal Velocity, Posey (Party Girl, Josie and the Pussycats, Best in Show) nails the part of an ambitious editor caught in a dull marriage. But the digital film has limited commercial prospects and probably will not raise her visibility.

Part of the fun of Sundance has been watching old pros try new endeavors.

John Malkovich didn't play it safe in his directing debut. Dare we say it approached art?

His careful aesthetic slowed down The Dancer Upstairs at times but never let you stop caring whether Javier Bardem's beleaguered cop could save his Latin country from a revolutionary.

Bardem (Before Night Falls) cuts a sympathetic figure as he contemplates his shallow marriage and a potential mistress. The terrorism depicted resonates beyond Sept. 11 because the villain is not only willing to kill many, including his children soldiers who act as human bombs - he wants to take over the country.

Malkovich (Dangerous Liaisons and Being John Malkovich) never had serious doubts he could conquer the complexities of The Dancer Upstairs.

"I'm a strange person probably because I have a very intimate relationship with failure," he said, "so I'm not a big panicker."

At the other end of the Sundance spectrum was Robbie Chafitz, a Rockville native and a 1990 Towson graduate. Chafitz was thrilled that his eight-minute short Time Out was chosen out of thousands, but he also was here to pursue backing so he can expand it into a feature called Sometimes Life is Hard.

In Time Out, kindergartners portrayed by adults (Chafitz and Kirk Ward) use gangster patter to discuss show and tell, cooties and revenge. "It's all going down during blocks," Ward's bully tells the smaller Chafitz. Time Out would serve as a prologue for the full-length version, which would involve child actors and be filmed in Baltimore.

Chafitz, now living in New York, showed off a flattering letter from Artisan-owned Landscape Pictures and said he has received other nibbles. "By this time next year, my feature will be made," he said.

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