Filmmaker Antonio Campos Spoils His Dinner

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Let’s see … where to start with this one? First of all, Antonio Campos's The Last 15 is a harrowing little family drama that perfectly illustrates Alfred Hitchcock’s dictum that a card game becomes more suspenseful if you show a bomb ticking under the table in advance — in this case, substitute "family dinner" for "card game." This short played the Cannes Film Festival and New Directors/New Films — but perhaps the elephant in the room is its 24-year-old maker's debut feature, Afterschool, which also screened at Cannes and at the New York Film Festival this year. It is currently the subject of an ongoing war among film bloggers, critics, and assorted civilians: Some consider it a groundbreaking masterpiece, others superficial and ham-handed. (You can get a taste of the battle lines here. Also, read the New York Times rave here. ) In the meantime, the supremely talented Campos is among the nominees for the Breakthrough Director award at the Gotham Awards tonight. If he wins, expect a food fight to break out — waaay back in the rear of the auditorium, where they seat the bloggers.