Magdalen is a tavern Scheherazade, a prostitute who sells stories in a seedy Philadelphia dive bar. Her clients include Mr. Jones, an angry black businessman who wants to hear the same graphic, sexual fantasy every night; Jace, a droll, Mishima-loving slacker/writer looking for an ending to his novel; Phil, a precocious skater-boy who wants to understand his dead father; and Edward, a shy 53-year-old virgin looking for love.
Alix D. Smith is Magdalen McElhinney, a tough, brainy femme noir, whose name suggests that the film's director is the father she talks about obsessively. In a solo session with a video camera, Magdalen's one stab at self-narration rapidly morphs from self-portrait into a portrait of the filmmaker - brilliant, destructive, God-identified, narcissistic and absent from her existence.
Littered with literary and cinematic allusions, the film's unreliable narrators make Magdalen part Warholian confessional and part Brechtian taproom comedy.
A masterful first film by Andrew Repasky McElhinney, the director of "A Chronicle Of Corpses."
"Magdalen reeks of another time and place. Say, New York in the late 60s, when Warhol was panning skyscrapers and orchestrating bleak dreams with colorful actors in dark little rooms. Written and directed by Andrew Repasky McElhinney...Magdalen has wonderfully transcendent moments, one being a montage of Philadelphia street scenes shot at night accompanied by a melancholy blues. McElhinney, who was 17 when he began his 70-minute feature, shows definite talent." -- Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"...Alix D. Smith, who portrays the title character, Magdalen, is a world-weary young woman who earns her living in a bar, telling stories to lonely people for money. Smith's presence on-screen is fascinating, unromantic and tough. The film itself is stylish, with moody black & white photography." -- Carrie Tobey, The Philadelphia Weekly
"I'll be damned if I've ever seen anything like it." -- Sam Adams, The Philadelphia City Paper
Magdalen (Alix D. Smith) is a storyteller who plies her trade in bars to make a few bucks. Approaching lonely people and regaling them with her fantastic tales, Magdalen roams the streets of Philadelphia seeking out her clientele amongst the confined spaces of local watering holes. Director Andrew Repasky McElhinney's debut feature offers an impressive combination of character study and breathtaking cinematography. Tying in a noir-ish use of black and white film with a story that positively reeks of sadness, this is a powerful, evocative tale.