Nasty Baby Widens Release

Two year ago, Fort Greene-based director Sebastian Silva cast our dog Hudson in his film Nasty Baby. Silva cast Mark Margolis as his real-life landlord and Hudson as a (slimmer, taller versions of) the real-life landlord’s real dog. Nasty Baby played BAM in June, and now is in sufficiently wide release to garner press, including a positive review by A. O. Scott in the New York Times:

….what had looked like a meandering, anecdotal story turns out to be a carefully constructed narrative machine, one that dispenses a brilliantly nasty series of surprises. Mr. Silva’s accomplishment is not just in pulling off a jarring plot twist, but in handling a change of tone that turns the movie — and the audience’s assumptions about it — upside down. If you’ve seen his earlier films, like “The Maid,” “Old Cats” or “Crystal Fairy,” you’re aware that he possesses this skill, and also a keen eye for the cruelty that underlies even the most apparently harmonious social arrangements.

“Nasty Baby” is not really — or not only — a loving farce about non-heteronormative reproduction and multicultural friendship. Without leaving Mo and Freddy’s leafy, brownstone-lined street, Mr. Silva transports us to a much deeper, darker place. The word “gentrification” is not uttered on screen, but the economic and literal violence that lurks within its bland, euphemistic syllables turns out to be the movie’s hidden theme. As misunderstandings spiral from awkward to horrifying, the gentle tickle of comedy is replaced by the barb of satire, and the audience’s smile of recognition is replaced by a grimace of complicity.

The film was both Hudson’s cinematic debut and finale. He died suddenly, a few weeks after the BAM screening. Watching it is one way we can remember him. RIP buddy; we miss you every day.

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