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MANIC

USA, 2001 (MIFF 2002, International Panorama)

Director: Jordan Melamed

Manic has enjoyed a tremendous reaction at numerous Film Festivals in the past months including Toronto, London and Rotterdam. The film's strength lies in the unflinching portrayal of disturbed youth locked down in a Californian mental institution.

Clearly exhibiting an acting range far beyond his TV sitcom role in Third Rock from the Sun, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is outstanding as the troubled Lyle. A teenager constantly battling to keep a bottomless pit of rage in check, Lyle is incarcerated for a savage beating he dishes out on the baseball field. His experiences on the wrong side of the bars - like a youthful One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest - open him up to the possibility of life without violent reactions. Excellent supporting cast including Don Cheadle (Traffic, Boogie Nights, Oceans Eleven) and sublime use of music by Aphex Twin and Sonic Youth.

"This is exactly the kind of film the Dogme 95 movement was meant to inspire. The result is a harshly honest picture. In reality, troubled people never really get rid of their demons. The best you can hope for is to find a way to control them." - Film Threat

Chicago native Jordan Melamed spent eight years as a commodities trader before leaving the pits for the American Film Institute. His short, A Corner in Gold (1998), won the student Emmy Award and played in Festivals around the world. Manic is Melamed's feature debut.

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