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MILK AND HONEY
Cast: Clint Jordan, Kirsten Russell, Dudley Findlay Jr, Anthony Howard, Greg Amici
Director: Joe Maggio
USA: 91 mins
USA Rated: Unrated
USA Release Date: 18 March 2005 (Limited Release)
New York City. Emotionally troubled, middle-aged stockbroker Rick Johnson (Clint Jordan) has just been released from a mental institution. At Rick's urging, his wife Joyce (Kirsten Russell) has organized a cocktail party where Rick hopes to show his friends and colleagues that he's back to normal. Things go smoothly at first, but when Rick publicly "re-proposes" to Joyce, and Joyce rejects him, the party comes to an abrupt and painfully awkward conclusion. His illusory world of comfort and security comes crashing down. A no-holds-barred fight ensues, ending when Rick attempts one last time to literally force a gigantic engagement ring onto Joyce's finger. Humiliated, Rick storms out
Under cover of darkness, in a city that never sleeps, husband and wife take separate paths that will test both the fragility of their psyches and the resilience of their love...
MILK AND HONEY, the second film by Joe Maggio (VIRGIL BLISS) is an utterly clever and unpredictable exploration of intersecting lives, lost loves, and missed opportunities that could only take place in New York City. It was an official selection of the Sundance, Woodstock, Tribeca and Atlanta Film Festivals (where it won the Special Jury Prize).
Maggio, a rising talent with a daring and ambitious voice, is a true New York filmmaker. His startlingly honest and genuinely surprising new film takes full advantage of all that New York City has to offer a young director including first rate theater actors, performance artists, and musicians. The soundtrack alone features indie rock favorites Yo La Tengo and Fischerspooner, as well as an original score by director Hal Hartley, who for the first time composed music for a film other than his own.
In MILK & HONEY, Maggio delves deep into serious issues such as fidelity and class difference, yet he does so with an unflinching eye and with an intimate, often comic style, than films addressing similar subjects made by his "Indiewood" peers. Starting with VIRGIL BLISS, Maggio developed a company of actors with whom he collaborates on his scripts and rehearses tirelessly before filming.
The film's strengths lie in Maggio's obvious love for his deeply flawed, all-too-human characters and his refusal to depict them as either heroes or villains. Much like the City, Maggio films with such a profound familiarity, MILK AND HONEY challenges our expectations at every turn.