<i>Roberta</i> is a fascinating personal odyssey of one man’s internal search for significance, enacted by a superb cast and highlighted by very conscious art direction. Gray-toned, minimally constructed sets provide the backdrop for a penetrating central performance by Kevin Corrigan, intricately portraying the character’s obsession to find meaning in a seemingly complete life.
Jonathan Fishman (Corrigan), a young professional, seems to have everything one needs to be happy: a good job, money in the bank, and a caring girlfriend. Yet he still longs for more. While on a job in an industrial district, he encounters a streetwalker, Roberta (Daisy Rojas). To the dismay of his friends, his business partner, and his lover, he decides to help Roberta off the streets by moving her into his apartment and teaching her the skills necessary to find a job in his professional world. As he selfishly enlists his friends in his quest, his altruism soon reveals itself as something more, and his life slowly and dangerously unravels.
A finely envisioned work that is cold in the best sense,<i>Roberta</i> is more than a standard search for meaning. Within this central construct lie fleshed-out characters. Roberta is far more than the manifestation of Jonathan’s desperate attempt to find salvation; she is a complex character who is struggling with her own choices as well. It is writer/director Eric Mandelbaum’s ability to humanize these potentially two-dimensional symbols through precise performances that makes <i>Roberta</i> a stunning and notable directing debut that should not be missed.
Eric Mandelbaum, Director
Eric Mandelbaum started his film and theatre career at the State University of New York at Purchase, wrote feature films for video-cable distribution and documentaries for the Discovery Channel and National Geiographic, and worked as a cameraman on documentaries and shorts and a production manager on TV commercials. In 1993 Mandelbaum wrote and directed Bum Deal</i>, a short film starring Kevin Corrigan and Isaiah Washington, which screened at film festivals in the United States and Europe.
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