Writer/Director: Emmanuel Shirinian
Producer: David Miller
Producer: Darren Portelli
MY FOOLISH HEART is a feature length comedy that tells the story of BENJAMIN, a 23 year old, hopeless romantic and tenor saxophone player, who is kicked out of a prestigious music school. Ben’s excuse is that he was expelled for bad grades and skipping class, while taking refuge in Eddy’s Jazz bar. The real truth is he was expelled for what the Dean of the school deemed a very inappropriate professor / student indiscretion, which happened to involve the Dean’s wife.
Ben, who has grown accustomed to the big city life, needs to keep his expulsion a secret from his parents because he knows he’ll be forced to move back to the small town he was born and raised in. So with Ben facing a true dilemma, he realizes his only option is to visit his grandparent’s nursing home so he can beg his 80-year old grandfather MAX SOLOMON, to stay in his vacant apartment in the city until he can get his feet on the ground. Max, who is dealing with mortality issues and the somber environment of the nursing home, decides to allow Ben to stay in his apartment, but with one condition – that Ben help him out with one last “sexual conquest”.
Ben enjoys a short-lived taste of freedom when Max and his larger than life personality and morally ambiguous behavior, moves back into the apartment he promised Ben he could live in. Ben seeks refuge at Eddy’s Jazz Bar, and one night during an open-mic night performance, he gets noticed by SHERMAN ROTH, a jazz pianist and leader of the Sherman Roth Quartet, a prolific jazz outfit on the scene. Sherman praises Ben’s playing ability and knowledge of Jazz history and offers Ben the gig of his life, a chance to join him on stage with his band the following week. Just when Ben’s night couldn’t get any better, he meets and charms his way into the arms of AVA, a 45 year old widow who succumbs to Ben’s advances and decides to engage in a one night stand with him. Instantly falling head over heels for Ava, Ben wakes up in the morning, disappointed to find Ava gone.
Ben becomes obsessed with finding Ava, while Max gives Ben all that he can handle with his dubious ethics and his born again his pals and ignoring all life’s responsibilities, while making Ben’s life miserable. One evening Max sets Ben up with the worst date of his life, and matters only get worse when Ben spots Max and Ava in the same movie theatre.
Max proves to be a worthy opponent for Ben as both pursue Ava in their own unique and unrelenting way, although beneath it all, Ben is starting to become emotionally connected to 25 year old IRIS, who Ben see’s occasionally at the nursing home when he is visiting his grandmother. Ben is still unable to lay his pursuit of Ava to rest, as he goes through great lengths to declare his love for her. When Ben shows up uninvited one night and meets Ava’s 21- year-old son, Arthur, he must deal with his jealous and intimidating demeanor, which results in a not so happy ending – a punch in the face and one of reality.
Iris who is an accomplished photographer and world traveler, has begun hosting exhibits of her work throughout the city, and one night Benjamin shows up to loan his support. He walks Iris home at the end of the night and it’s very clear that a mutual physical and emotional connection has been formed. When Iris shows up to see Ben play saxophone with the Sherman Roth Quartet, all falls apart for Ben as Max (who has arrived to support Ben) not only upsets Ava who has shown up to apologize to Ben, but also tells Iris all about Benjamin’s relationship with Ava. Ben is left angry with doubts about the value of family and love. At the heart of it all, MY FOOLISH HEART is a story about growing up and growing old. It’s about the fear of change, but most of all, it’s a story about a grandfather who wants time to stand still, and a grandson who does everything in his power to accelerate it.