Judy Berlin: Eric Mendelsohn’s Impressive Debut, Starring Edie Falco and Madeline Kahn

A first feature of remarkable substance and style, Eric Mendelsohn’s Judy Berlin provides a humorous, melancholy look at a suburban Long Island community whose characters include lonely housewives, frustrated schoolteachers, and aspiring actresses.

The protagonist is a young energetic woman, played by Edie Falco (of HBO’s “The Sopranos” fame), whose idealism is at odds with a community engulfed by stasis, alienation, and nostalgia.

Beautifully photographed in black-and-white, the story is set in the surreal twilight of a solar eclipse with the town’s inhabitants wandering the streets in search of comfort and companionship. Exhibiting original characterizations, eccentric wit, and rich humor, writer-director Mendelsohn should be heralded as a bright new talent in American indie cinema.

The all-star cast includes Barbara Barrie, Bob Dishy, Julie Kavner, and Anne Meara.

Among other distinctions, the film features the last performance by the gifted actress-comedienne Madeline Kahn.