New York's other film festival -- the one named after the fashionable Tribeca nabe, but actually unfolds all over Lower Manhattan -- returns for its 12th edition tonight, opening with the rock doc Mistaken For Strangers, a portrait of The National directed by the roadie brother of the band's lead singer. The subsequent eleven days of screenings, events and panel discussions will be just as eclectic, as Tribeca continues its mission to serve as the funky, cool little sibling to the older and more respectable New York Film Festival that unspools every year at the uptown (and upscale) Film Society of Lincoln Center. For the full schedule, visit the festival's online headquarters. In the meantime, here are some of the trends to watch for at this year's TFF.
A mother/daughter story trussed up in vampiric garb, Neil Jordan's Byzantium has the same gloomy atmosphere that suffused his previous bloodsucking tale -- 1994's Interview with the Vampire, based on Anne Rice's genre-redefining favorite -- but adds some notable tweaks to vampire legend. For starters, sunlight isn't a problem for ageless 18th-century hooker Clara (Gemma Arterton) and her teen offspring Eleanor (Saorise Ronan), her actual biological daughter whom she converted to vampirism two hundred years ago. Although the two do most of their "work" after hours, they can and do move about in the daytime without fear of going up in flames. Additionally, their bite only delivers death rather than a second chance at life. The only way a new vampire can be born into the world is for the candidate in question to make the pilgrimage to a cavern on a remote island, where they'll be met by a demon that satiates its centuries-long thirst with their hemoglobin, turning the waterfalls that rain down outside the cave blood-red in the process.