Steven Silvers’ new film, “The Bang Bang Club,” which had its Tribeca Film Festival premiere on Thursday night, follows four combat photographers entrenched in South Africa during the final days of apartheid. Considering the recent political climate in Libya and the Wednesday deaths of conflict photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, some attendees found the subject matter — journalists, but more so human beings operating under the most demanding conditions — a little raw, a little too-soon, or just insurmountably dark. Greg Marinovich, the photojournalist subject of the film, understood.
“This lifestyle is hard to understand,” he explained. “It gets in your blood… this job, it becomes who you are. You know it’s incredibly dangerous, but you do it anyway. For the right reasons.”
Ryan Phillippe, who plays Marinovich in the film, spent most of the subsequent Cinema Society- and American Express-hosted after party at La Bottega in the Maritime Hotel telling partygoers how tired he was, but took some time to weigh in on recent events.
“It just shows the risks that these people take,” Phillippe expounded. “They do this to tell the stories that need to be told. But I don’t think journalists dying, renowned journalists even, are more important than the civilians dying every day. You can’t weigh them against each other and say one is more important. It’s all…the whole thing is a mess.”
Was he attending any other films during the Tribeca Film Festival? “No,” Phillippe shrugged, “I’m not.”
Elsewhere, revelers filled the space to capacity. Phillippe’s co-stars in the film, Taylor Kitsch and Malin Akerman were on hand, as was Jason Reitman who chatted with Paul Haggis at a banquette near Zoe Kravitz. Karolina Kurkova mugged for photographers near one of the tiled, mirrored columns in the restaurant with Megan and Todd DiCiurcio nearby. Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church sat with Nicole Miller, who regaled friends in a nearby booth.
As the party wound down partygoers made their way either to Haggis’ nearby loft for an after-after party or to one of many other events that evening.