The 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival opened Wednesday with pugnacious political words from Robert De Niro.
As the curtain went up on the 17th Tribeca, De Niro couldn’t help using the festival’s megawatt spotlight to direct his considerable ire at Trump.
De Niro has been among the most vocal and bluntest of Trump’s critics, frequently excoriating the president. He has, for example, previously said he’d like to punch Trump in the face.
At a kickoff luncheon for press, De Niro referred to Trump as ‘our Lowlife-in-Chief’ and rejected what he referred to as the president’s narrow definition of America.
Robert De Niro (left) took shots at President Trump (right) Wednesday night as his Tribeca Film Festival had its opening night
‘The country has had a bad year, and you – the press – have taken a lot of hits,’ De Niro told the reporters in attendance. ‘America is being run by a madman who wouldn’t recognize the truth if it came inside a bucket of his beloved Colonel Sanders Fried Chicken.’
Festival organizers said this year’s Tribeca has been programmed with some of De Niro’s fighting spirit.
‘In the face of this inhumanity, we stand definitely against the forces that are tearing our country apart from the inside,’ said Jane Rosenthal, who co-founded the festival with De Niro, said. ‘We stand with Time’s Up, Never Again and Black Lives Matter and underserved voices.’
Jane Rosenthal, the festival’s co-founder, wore a Girl Power shirt to the festival’s opening. ‘In the face of this inhumanity, we stand definitely against the forces that are tearing our country apart from the inside,’ she said
Some elements of this year’s Tribeca, which runs through April 29, are pointedly political. The closing night selection is Liz Garbus’ ‘The Fourth Estate,’ an upcoming Showtime documentary series that captures The New York Times reporting on Trump’s first year in office. The Jay-Z produced series ‘Rest in Power: The Travyon Martin Story’ documents the 2012 shooting of the 17-year-old in Florida.
The festival will also hold a daylong Time’s Up event on April 28, featuring hours of conversations with the initiative advocating for gender equality. Of the festival’s 99 features, 46 per cent are directed by women, the most in Tribeca’s history. Rosenthal has credited that percentage in part with the makeup of Tribeca Enterprises, which she said is 80 per cent female.
The festival opened just days after De Niro appeared on Saturday Night Live as Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a sketch. Wednesday on the ‘Today’ show, De Niro said he would like to reprise the part.
‘I hope there’s a couple where I interrogate him then I arrest him and then I escort him to jail,’ De Niro said, referring to President Donald Trump.