Cranston native Jendra Jarnagin (formerly Robinson) graduated from Cranston High School East and went on to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1992 and has since become an established cinematographer, living and working in New York City.
Jendra returned to Rhode Island’s Avon Cinema last week to promote a screening of “Molly’s Theory of Relativity,” an independent movie directed by Jeff Lipsky. The film opened in New York last month and will be the opening film at the USA Film Festival this week in Dallas.
Jarnagin’s cinematography is the highlight of the movie, which is filled with some of the best theatre actors working today. Shot almost entirely in a small apartment, the movie might work better on the stage, as it at times seems confined.
The cinematography saves it, with close-up shots of the characters and a carefully prepared meal that they share around a crowded table. Jarnagin has one shot of an old man dealing cards in front of a large painting that is a classic.
The story is about family relationships, a common theme for Lipsky, who uses long conversations and confrontations, especially between father and son, as members try to make peace with each other.
Molly is an astrophysicist who has been fired from her job. Her husband is supporting them with two jobs, one at Burger King and one at an airport limo service. They are trying to decide whether or not to move to Norway.
Relatives and neighbors appear, engaging in long conversations. Some appear to be real, while others are either dead or make believe. Some are interesting; some are not.
Jendra’s incredible shots inside the small quarters, zeroing in on everyday items, with the outside world covered up with cardboard over the windows, held my interest. Unfortunately, the talkiness and lack of action bored me at times.
I would predict a long successful career for this talented Cranstonian, especially if she hooks up with some good filmmakers.