Helena from the Wedding
Lee Tergesen plays Alex Javal in
this independent film written and directed by Joseph Infantolino.
The movie, which debuted at a film festival in
March 2010 has been picked up for distribution by Film Movement. The
movie was released for a short run in theaters beginning Nov. 12, 2010, in New
York. It became available on Video On Demand systems beginning
December 2010. It is scheduled for release on DVD on March 8, 2011.
Film Movement’s president, Adley Gartenstein, said in an
article on IndieWire.com: "'Helena from the Wedding' was one of
the films to really stand out this year at SXSW. A mature, adult
drama with a top-notch ensemble cast, intelligent dialog and
impeccable direction by Mr. Infantolino."
official site for the movie has this description:
HELENA FROM THE WEDDING is the debut
feature film from writer/director Joseph Infantolino. Shot
mostly in sequence in and around a small cabin in upstate New
York, this nuanced and often funny portrait of marriage and
anxiety in the late blooming professional class revolves around
one dark night of the soul of Alex Javal (Lee Tergesen), who is
feeling so out of sorts that he fails to appreciate his new
wife, Alice (Melanie Lynskey), and the new life she represents
The story takes place over the course of a weekend
long New Year’s Eve party that the Javals host for their closest
friends and one unexpected guest, the very beautiful and very
young Helena (Gillian Jacobs).
"Helena from the Wedding" had its world
premiere at the SXSW Film Conference and Festival, held March
12–20, 2010, in Austin, Texas. Lee was in attendance, as the movie's
Facebook page and galleries show.
Interviews with Lee
Interview at DailyActor.com (audio and
Joseph Infantolino, Lee Tergesen and Paul
Lee: "I’m no stranger to the character of
the man who’s not sure if he’s in the right
Interview at Gordon and the Whale.com
Lee Tergesen and Paul Fitzgerald
Interviewer: What started off as a normal interview quickly
turned into one where my personal views on the film came into
question and how Lee just wanted to be sure I liked him.
Interview at Daemonstv.com (Oct. 25, 2010)
In a wide-ranging interview, Lee talked about the making of the
film: Joe Infantolino ... I had known through Alexa Fogel who
produced it and she was one of the casting directors on "Oz." She’s
also cast me in a ton of things since then. She’s a very good friend
and she thinks I’m talented. So, anyway, we shot it for 12 days.
Joe’s family has this cabin up in the Catskills and ... he came up
with this idea for a feature-length film that would be shot just
entirely in that location to be unbelievably cost effective. So it
was very fast and loose. It was really a great, great bunch of
actors. ... So it was a blast. It premiered at South by Southwest.
Oh, and Melanie Lynskey plays my wife. She’s fucking incredible.
Reviews praise Lee & the cast
Review from CinemaBlend.com
"Helena From the Wedding" could have been
another forgettable indie-movie in which a bunch of characters
are thrown together in a cabin to interact. ... But in this
case, the cast is so good that it elevates it beyond the usual.
Helena is thoughtful and touching, a realistic portrayal of
thirtysomethings looking out on the rest of their life and
figuring out where they’ll spend it.
Review from The FlickCast
... It helps to have a
very gifted actor at the center of the film.
Lee Tergesen ... inhabits a role so well
that you almost don’t recognize him from
project to project. That’s one of his major
strengths. ... In Helena, Tergesen again
demonstrates his consummate ability to
inhabit a role and bring it to life.
Review from and IndieWire blog
Helena From the Wedding [is] an intimate
film filled with terrific performances, none stronger than lead
Lee Tergesen. With small glances and gestures Tergesen conveyed
the complex emotional currents running beneath Alex's "good
host" exterior to bring to life a truly sympathetic character
who really connected with the audience.
Review from the Village Voice
... It's Tergesen who is the film's
lynchpin. As dissembling flop playwright Alex, he brings Jack
Lemmon to mind, his standby expression a thin half-grin and
bright eyes that suggest he's holding back a scream.
Here's a longer, more detailed synopsis from
the press notes for the film:
As Alex and Alice Javal arrive at a remote
cabin in the mountains to host a weekend long New Year’s Eve
party and go through the routine of opening up the house,
reminders of the past abound. Christmas decorations from the
just passed holiday are still in evidence. Old pictures of
Alex’s family are on display. Trophy mounts of animals long
since killed stare down from every wall.
On the surface, Alex
and Alice seem like happy newlyweds, yet there is a subtle
undercurrent of unease they are both fighting to control. Is it
Alex’s failed play? The prospect of children that confronts the
newlyweds on the brink of middle age? Whatever it is, it will
have to wait as the guests begin to arrive.
Alex’s best friend Nick (Paul Fitzgerald), newly separated from
his wife, is expected to arrive with his new girlfriend, the
very beautiful and very young Lola. Nick arrives with only a
cooler of meat to cook for dinner. Their childhood friend Don
(Dominic Fumusa) arrives in his beloved classic jeep and in an
argument with his wife Lynn (Jessica Hecht).
The final guests, Alice’s pregnant friend Eve (Dagmara Dominczyk)
and her husband Steven (Corey Stoll), bring a surprise guest,
Eve’s friend Helena, who was a bridesmaid with Alice at Eve’s
When Helena seems to ignore him, Alex’s formerly vague sense of
discontent becomes acute. In fact, at first, there is almost no
evidence that Helena and Alex spent time together at Eve’s
wedding, a time in the past when Alex was feeling a lot better
As the weekend progresses towards New Year’s Eve, Alex becomes
more and more unhinged as his effort to recreate the excitement
of his earlier time with Helena falls flat. Seemingly oblivious
to his new wife and the new life she represents and enables, it
seems like suddenly nothing is going right in the life of Alex
Javal. But it’s only when he finds himself in the woods on his
back wearing camouflage, that Alex begins to realize just how
lost he may be.