At the heart of Patrick Wang’s cheeky indie comedy, split into a pair of two-hour films, is the Bread Factory, a community arts centre in the fictional Checkford (a proxy for Hudson, New York). The space houses a theatre, a newspaper and a makeshift town hall, as well as a bustling ensemble of lovably eccentric characters.
Local leaders Dorothea (Tyne Daly) and Greta (Elisabeth Henry) tussle for funding with May Ray, a flashy but vapid performance artist duo. Part One is a manual for maintaining integrity as standards of art, journalism and personal ethics slip. It could exist comfortably as a standalone film, but it wouldn’t be as much fun without the weirder, more experimental Part Two, which revolves around a production of the Greek play Hecuba and features characters breaking out into surreal bursts of tap dance and song.