The Tribeca Film Festival officially opens tonight with a gala premiere at MoMA for that gritty, low-budget monster flick Shrek 4. Last night, though, was the festival’s first real gathering of fancy people: Vanity Fair’s annual preopening outdoor cocktail party on the steps of the State Supreme Courthouse. It was a time for bold names to gather, laugh, and pass on rectal-care tips: While we were talking to host Graydon Carter, director Barry Sonnenfeld approached and pressed what looked like a Handi Wipe into Carter’s hand, but it was a Tucks Medicated Pad for hemorrhoid relief. “Take it,” Sonnenfeld said to Carter. “It’s like a romp through a field of daisies on your ass.” Carter, for his part, regifted the wipe as soon as Sonnenfeld walked away. “He does that at every party,” he said with a chuckle.
The rest of the party played out much the same — old friends joking with old friends, and talking little of the film festival they’d ostensibly come to celebrate. Tribeca Film Festival founder Robert De Niro stood against a pillar at the entrance, greeting all those who dared to say hi, including Mayor Bloomberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Martha Stewart, Anna Wintour, Christy Turlington, Brian Williams, Darren Aronofsky, Denis Leary, Tom Freston, Queen Noor of Jordan, Ray Kelly, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Ron Perelman. André Balaz joked that he always loves this party because it’s a chance for most of the guests “to see this beautiful courthouse not in the context of a divorce.” As if to counteract the building’s famously bad mojo, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld didn’t need a marriage ref as we grilled them about movies.
NYM: Today is 4/20, the unofficial day for pot smokers. What movie should one watch while stoned?
Jessica: I can recommend Full Metal Jacket. I know that from experience.
Jerry: What I would recommend is — I don’t do it anymore — but when I was a kid, The Honeymooners. That was my favorite, because of Jackie Gleason. Those wild gestures, they’re just so much bigger than in life. You’re like, ‘Whoa, this guy is crazy!’ [Cracks up.] That’s what I’d recommend.
Patricia Clarkson was one of the few people there with a film to promote, the travel love story Cairo Time, the filming of which had afforded her a magical seven weeks living in the titular city. “Everything was real. When my ass was on the pyramids, my ass was on the pyramids,” she said. “The only thing that wasn’t wonderful was seeing what comes out of a camel, but that’s a conversation for a different time.” John Leguizamo was there as a juror in the Tribeca All Access category, which seeks to find the next great urban filmmaker. Leguizamo gave an impromptu guide to filmmakers on how to win his vote: “[The movie] has to be really fucking funny or really depressing. Like, Precious was really, really depressing and I loved it. Anything else is forgettable. Oh, and I love [documentaries]. I always cry. Did you see The Cove? I dare you not to cry during The Cove, with the cute baby dolphins and the blood. And I cry during anything with kids and health issues. Anything with third-world children, I guarantee I’ll be crying — probably because I fancy myself a third-world child.” The apex, he suggested would be for one of these urban filmmakers to put dolphins and third-world children into their movies. “I don’t know how you’re going to keep a dolphin in the projects, but good luck. If you got that movie, it would win.”