A strange little film, shot entirely on High Definition video using only available lighting, that updates Leo Tolstoy's classic short story The Death of Ivan Ilyich and places it in contemporary Los Angeles. Here Ivan (Danny Huston, John's son) is no longer Tolstoy's mid-level bureaucrat but a high-powered talent agent. Which, I'm sure Bernard Rose (and partner/producer/costar Lisa Enos) wants to suggest, is essentially the same thing.

Ivan's sex-and-drug-fueled life in the fast lane hits a brick wall when he's given a surprise cancer diagnosis. As the lonely agent struggles to deal with the emptiness of his world, he eventually finds a sort of fulfillment in dying, which evades the shallow Hollywood types who surrounded him when times were good, and who now disappear from Ivan's side when the worst comes down.

As in the Tolstoy short story, the depiction of Ivan's humble tragedy is so objective that, while still strangely affecting (thanks mostly to Huston's touching performance), it doesn't really have anything new to say about the meaning of life or death. But I commend motion pictures that are made digitally, with small crews and small budgets and big ideas, so I recommend you see ivansxtc if only to keep the dream of affordable filmmaking alive. Rose and Enos completed this thing three years ago and only now are they getting a very small theatrical release. Go out and support them.