The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
"Choking Man is everything an independent film should be" -Steven Soderbergh
"Barron executes all the hard stuff remarkably well: vivid ensemble thesping, evocative locales and even unforced Catholic symbolism...Barron's camera bestows the film's main Gotham locale, two odd Queens street corners sitting beneath a rattling elevated train, with an almost mythical, microcosmic dimension." -Variety
"The tender and spirited performances of its diverse cast elevate Barron's portrait of contemporary Queens life" -Village Voice
"Eerily atmospheric...builds to its conclusion with an unsettling intensity reminiscent of Roman Polanksi." -TV Guide
"Gently lyrical and melancholy" -Chicago Tribune
Choking Man, an intense blend of psychological drama and magical realism that speaks eloquently of the contemporary immigrant experience in America. Jorgé (Octavio Gómez Berríos) is a morbidly shy Ecuadorian dishwasher toiling away in a vintage Jamaica, Queens diner run by Rick (a Greek-accented Mandy Patinkin). Tormented on the job by his coworker Jerry (Aaron Paul) and controlled at home by his older, domineering male "roommate," Jorgé mutely tries to express his adoration for Amy, a newly hired Korean waitress (Mail Order Wife's Eugenia Yuan). She tries to reciprocate, but the gulf that separates them may be too large. Interstitial fantasy sequences featuring an animated rabbit gives us the impressions of life from Jorgé's point of view, while a poster instructing diner patrons on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver looms over and ultimately catalyzes the action. Shot over 18 days in Harlem and at Queens' Olympia Diner, Choking Man effectively portrays the polyglot milieu of the area around John F. Kennedy Airport, capturing the feeling of claustrophobia and almost literal asphyxiation newcomers to America experience as they struggle to find a place and a purpose in this strange land.
Directed by Steve Barron, U.S.A., 2006, BetaSP, 83 mins.