If you dug Fort Tilden as much as we did, you’ll be psyched to hear that a couple of its creators are involved in a new film opening locally at Cinema Village today. Co-produced, co-written, and starring Tilden‘s executive producer Ariana Bernstein and edited by its writer-director Sarah-Violet Bliss, Delusions of Guinevere lacks some of the earlier film’s satirical edge, but it has a similarly dark take on the New York dating scene and the staring-at-their-reflection-in-the-iPhone-screen narcissism of kids these days.
Actually, Guinevere James (played by Bernstein) isn’t exactly a kid, but she is having difficulty letting go of her childhood. As an eight-year-old, she starred in a popular ad for a Jell-O knockoff called Gelée (you can watch the campy commercial in the film’s opening sequence, which we’ve secured for you exclusively above). Twenty years later and many pounds heavier, she can’t even convince her best friends to watch her play a geisha in an experimental play at the East Village’s 99-seat Kraine Theater, much less impress a class of grade schoolers. “Isn’t that interesting, everyone?” a teacher tells her class. “Guinevere here performs in plays, just like our first graders.”)
At first, Guin seems to suck up the humbling casting rejections and the cute barista at Williamsburg’s Second Stop Cafe who — even with the $5 tips — fails to register her as a regular. But when nobody attends a 20th anniversary reunion of the “Gelée girls” and the overdose of one of them — a coke-snorting, mascara-wearing Amanda Bynes type — overshadows what might’ve been Guin’s return to the limelight, she decides she has to get famous. Like, now.
Following in the footsteps of another Gelée child star turned Dane Cook wannabe who has managed to clock a sizable YouTube audience despite his self-professed focus on “really edgy, uncensored shit — you know, sex, drugs, fucking, vadge farts,” Guin decides “people will watch anything” and posts a sad-sack YouTube video of herself housing a bowl of cereal at 6am. Sure enough, it goes viral and manages to get the attention of some reality-show wankers who decide to take a crack at “Breakfast with Guinevere.” And this is precisely when Guin the aspiring fameball becomes a case-study in how to lose friends and alienate people.
Shot in Brooklyn and Manhattan (including in the apartments of Bernstein and her parents) and co-written in part by UCB fixtures Marina Templesmen and Niccolo Moretti, Delusions of Guinevere is very much a local production. In fact, Sarah-Violet Bliss (who, we’ll remind you, also directed an episode of High Maintenance) got involved with it while she was hanging at a bar in Williamsburg. After the 23-day shoot wrapped in the summer of 2012, Bernstein ran into Bliss at the filmmaker’s local one morning around 3 a.m. and they decided to work together more or less on the spot.
You can see the results when the film, directed and co-written by Joanna Bowzer, opens at Cinema Village in the East Village today. It’s also available on iTunes. We normally wouldn’t recommend watching a movie at home, but that is where you’ll be able to scarf a bowl of cereal while checking your retweets.