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Helena from the Wedding


Lee Tergesen plays Alex Javal in this independent film written and directed by Joseph Infantolino.

The movie, which debuted at a film festival in March 2010 has been picked up for distribution by Film Movement. The movie was released for a short run in theaters beginning Nov. 12, 2010, in New York. It became available on Video On Demand systems beginning December 2010. It is scheduled for release on DVD on March 8, 2011.

Film Movement’s president, Adley Gartenstein, said in an article on IndieWire.com: "'Helena from the Wedding' was one of the films to really stand out this year at SXSW. A mature, adult drama with a top-notch ensemble cast, intelligent dialog and impeccable direction by Mr. Infantolino."

The official site for the movie has this description:

HELENA FROM THE WEDDING is the debut feature film from writer/director Joseph Infantolino. Shot mostly in sequence in and around a small cabin in upstate New York, this nuanced and often funny portrait of marriage and anxiety in the late blooming professional class revolves around one dark night of the soul of Alex Javal (Lee Tergesen), who is feeling so out of sorts that he fails to appreciate his new wife, Alice (Melanie Lynskey), and the new life she represents and enables.


The story takes place over the course of a weekend long New Year’s Eve party that the Javals host for their closest friends and one unexpected guest, the very beautiful and very young Helena (Gillian Jacobs).

"Helena from the Wedding" had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Conference and Festival, held March 12–20, 2010, in Austin, Texas. Lee was in attendance, as the movie's Facebook page and galleries show.

Interviews with Lee

Interview at DailyActor.com (audio and trancript)
Joseph Infantolino, Lee Tergesen and Paul Fitzgerald
Lee: "I’m no stranger to the character of the man who’s not sure if he’s in the right relationship."

Interview at Gordon and the Whale.com
Lee Tergesen and Paul Fitzgerald
Interviewer: What started off as a normal interview quickly turned into one where my personal views on the film came into question and how Lee just wanted to be sure I liked him.

Interview at Daemonstv.com (Oct. 25, 2010)
In a wide-ranging interview, Lee talked about the making of the film: Joe Infantolino ... I had known through Alexa Fogel who produced it and she was one of the casting directors on "Oz." She’s also cast me in a ton of things since then. She’s a very good friend and she thinks I’m talented. So, anyway, we shot it for 12 days. Joe’s family has this cabin up in the Catskills and ... he came up with this idea for a feature-length film that would be shot just entirely in that location to be unbelievably cost effective. So it was very fast and loose. It was really a great, great bunch of actors. ... So it was a blast. It premiered at South by Southwest. Oh, and Melanie Lynskey plays my wife. She’s fucking incredible.

Reviews praise Lee & the cast

Review from CinemaBlend.com

"Helena From the Wedding" could have been another forgettable indie-movie in which a bunch of characters are thrown together in a cabin to interact. ... But in this case, the cast is so good that it elevates it beyond the usual. Helena is thoughtful and touching, a realistic portrayal of thirtysomethings looking out on the rest of their life and figuring out where they’ll spend it.

Review from The FlickCast

Review from and IndieWire blog

Helena From the Wedding [is] an intimate film filled with terrific performances, none stronger than lead Lee Tergesen. With small glances and gestures Tergesen conveyed the complex emotional currents running beneath Alex's "good host" exterior to bring to life a truly sympathetic character who really connected with the audience.

Review from the Village Voice

... It's Tergesen who is the film's lynchpin. As dissembling flop playwright Alex, he brings Jack Lemmon to mind, his standby expression a thin half-grin and bright eyes that suggest he's holding back a scream.

Full synopsis

Here's a longer, more detailed synopsis from the press notes for the film:

As Alex and Alice Javal arrive at a remote cabin in the mountains to host a weekend long New Year’s Eve party and go through the routine of opening up the house, reminders of the past abound. Christmas decorations from the just passed holiday are still in evidence. Old pictures of Alex’s family are on display. Trophy mounts of animals long since killed stare down from every wall.


On the surface, Alex and Alice seem like happy newlyweds, yet there is a subtle undercurrent of unease they are both fighting to control. Is it Alex’s failed play? The prospect of children that confronts the newlyweds on the brink of middle age? Whatever it is, it will have to wait as the guests begin to arrive.

Alex’s best friend Nick (Paul Fitzgerald), newly separated from his wife, is expected to arrive with his new girlfriend, the very beautiful and very young Lola. Nick arrives with only a cooler of meat to cook for dinner. Their childhood friend Don (Dominic Fumusa) arrives in his beloved classic jeep and in an argument with his wife Lynn (Jessica Hecht).

The final guests, Alice’s pregnant friend Eve (Dagmara Dominczyk) and her husband Steven (Corey Stoll), bring a surprise guest, Eve’s friend Helena, who was a bridesmaid with Alice at Eve’s wedding.

When Helena seems to ignore him, Alex’s formerly vague sense of discontent becomes acute. In fact, at first, there is almost no evidence that Helena and Alex spent time together at Eve’s wedding, a time in the past when Alex was feeling a lot better about himself.

As the weekend progresses towards New Year’s Eve, Alex becomes more and more unhinged as his effort to recreate the excitement of his earlier time with Helena falls flat. Seemingly oblivious to his new wife and the new life she represents and enables, it seems like suddenly nothing is going right in the life of Alex Javal. But it’s only when he finds himself in the woods on his back wearing camouflage, that Alex begins to realize just how lost he may be.


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Related Links

IMDb // Facebook

Available on DVD

Official site


Audio interview with  Joseph Infantolino,
Lee Tergesen
and others

SXSW Film Fest

Village Voice review