Hey Karina and Chris--

While I agree with both of you that the desperate desire on the part of Tribeca's organizers to have A Really Big Festival! has resulted in the presence of some truly horrible movies, I have to say that doesn't (at least for me) make the good -- and even great -- films at the festival any less worthwhile. Granted, it's risky as hell to just blindly buy tickets to anything (particularly, as Karina pointed out, to features), but if attendees choose carefully, they can create a pretty strong week of film-going.

Like Karina, I've seen some crap, but have also seen some very good films. Even today, more than a week after I first saw it, I'm still over the moon about Once in a Lifetime, the New York Cosmos documentary that made me so damn happy it might have become one of my favorite films ever, not just of the festival. And, as a Soviet and Russian history nerd, I've really enjoyed Freedom's Fury and Hammer and Tickle, which offer very different looks at the Eastern Bloc. Freedom's Fury is built around the 1956 Olympic semi-final water polo game between Hungary and the USSR, but is most valuable as a lesson on the 1956 Hungarian revolution; Hammer and Tickle, meanwhile, explores the history of dissent under Soviet rule through jokes. The latter is not an entirely successful film but the history is fascinating, if you're into that sort of thing. In addition, 37 Uses for a Dead Sheep, which details the difficult past and present of the Pamir Kirghiz people, is a pretty wonderful film, sure enough of its approach and subject matter to have a charming, gangly confidence that is all too rare in film, documentary or otherwise.