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TRIBECA 2022 | NUDE TUESDAY Puts A Brilliantly Clever Spin On Marital Turmoil

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

Celebrating its online World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, Nude Tuesday is a film about marital turmoil with a comedic flair. If you’re curious about the hook, it’s certainly a wild one: the whole film is in gibberish. To add to the insanity of this concept, the film is spoken entirely in improvised gibberish! With the subtitles created by contributing writers globally after the picture was locked, what transpires is one of the most interesting, hysterical films to come out all year. Furthermore, it seems as if the wishes of the filmmakers will come true indeed. As more writers from around the world are given access to the film, countless interpretations will allow for infinite versions of the film to exist. The very base idea and core hook of the film now lends itself to the thematic reasoning Nude Tuesday works so well in the first place. Workshopped between director Armagan Ballantyne and screenwriter/star Jackie van Beek, Nude Tuesday is a film about miscommunication, misinterpretation, self-expression, and of course, the benefits of nudity.

In the film, Laura and Bruno are at their wits end celebrating their tenth anniversary. From Bruno having a bit of a supermarket meltdown to Laura attempting to give a presentation at work while her arm is profusely bleeding, the couple is gifted tickets to a couples’ retreat. Upon their arrival, the two quickly find themselves way out of their league, as the sex-obsessed guru Bjorg Rasmussesn (played perfectly by Jemaine Clement) “releases the beast” among those participating at the camp. What that beast is for everyone there is left up to interpretation, but the three most clearly resonating with our lead couple is their sexual expressions, their trauma, and their truthfulness. As van Beek’s Laura cautiously hides her injury and desires from Bruno, he makes it well aware how hurt he is. Known for his extensive dramatic roles ranging from Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and J. Edgar to The Lone Ranger, Damon Herriman as Bruno brings a nuanced depth to this absurdly silly premise. Even when feeling undervalued and unloved by his wife, he still manages to bring a bubbly charm forth when his children are present. Herriman clearly committed to the concept completely, so much so that he stated, “In a weird way, I would almost prefer to speak gibberish in every acting job now… There was something very pure about getting that [intention] across in gibberish”.

As Laura, van Beek is also able to commit fully, but in a much more subtle manner. When overwhelmed, van Beek described Laura as “existing in a shut down, survival mode”. As Nude Tuesday highlights, the two are teetering on the edge of collapse. This last ditch effort is all their relationship has left. Fascinatingly and emotionally, it takes the full retreat for the two to finally let their true feelings out. Existing in a fictional land where everyone we come across says what they mean and means what they say, the two people at the heart of the film refuse to do so for one another. Early on in the film, Laura lets her anger out on the traffic in front of her and the feelings are reciprocated, while Bruno goes so far as to begin throwing cans of beans at supermarket employees. Every single person in Nude Tuesday is blatantly transparent with their emotions, which not only makes the use of gibberish that much more brilliant, but the turmoil on screen becomes increasingly effective as the tensions build.

Upon meeting Bjorg, the charismatic guru appears to cause more harm than aid. And while his character is essentially set up to be an antagonistic force in a way, it’s impossible to take Clement as anything other than an immensely talented comedic force. As is the case in reality, the world Nude Tuesday exists within has its own fair share of fakers, no matter how much they appear to wear their hearts on their sleeves. As we see characters come to grips with the truthfulness of not only those around them, but within themselves, the film builds to a dramatically climactic finale that offers up the titular weekday of complete nudity. Yet when it’s all said and done, after the New Wave readings and exercises have been put behind them, Laura and Bruno learn what’s most important: that truthful dialogue will always take precedence in the quest for inner peace. However, what is equally impressive, is how Nude Tuesday pokes fun at the retreat Bjorg runs, but never minimizes the genuine solutions it may provide.

The beauty of this film is acknowledging that it, and all other art, will forever be interpreted differently from audience to audience. The use of gibberish surpasses merely being a gimmick and transforms into something grander. Instead, Ballantyne and van Beek make the crucial note of emphasizing different solutions will be necessary for different people. For a film that could have easily fallen into a trap of being a silly comedy (which it very much is and will surely elicit full laugh out loud moments), Nude Tuesday is also able to paint a vivid portrait of the importance of feeling free and loving yourself however works best. Whether that be embracing one’s sexuality, understanding what (or who) we truly want in this world, or learning how to cope with all that occurs around us during our daily lives, Nude Tuesday asks its audience to shed some layers and be free, both metaphorically and literally.

Nude Tuesday is celebrating its Online World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Tickets for screenings and more information on the film can be found right here.

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