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"I know I'm really lucky. I think I'm really happy." So declares Natalie (Natalie Picoe, pictured) in the opening voiceover of Nosey Parker, John O'Brien's sweet slice of life. But even the most novice moviegoer will know something is rotten in the State of Vermont (played here by itself, in all its shameless autumnal glory).

            Natalie and her inattentive husband Richard (Richard Snee) have just settled into a mind-blowing hilltop home when they meet George (George Lyford, also pictured), one of the listers (Vermontese for tax appraisers) who have popped in to assess the place. Thirty-something Natalie eventually enlists 70-something George's help around the house, and an unlikely bond forms between the lonely big-city girl and the no-nonsense farmer with the twinkly eyes.

            O'Brien filmed Parker in Tunbridge, using almost all nonprofessionals --- the exceptions being Picoe and Snee --- and guiding his inexperienced players through some impressive improvisation. The handheld camerawork makes you feel like you're part of the cast, as well.

            Sadly, this film is George Lyford's swan song --- he passed away before filming was completed, and O'Brien had to rethink his ending. The result is a lovely eulogy to the man and his vanishing way of life.

            When I spoke with John O'Brien, I realized I wouldn't have much space to include our conversation. "Don't waste it on me," he advised, with typical Yankee economy.

            Please take advantage of his presence at the Little Theatre on Monday, June 7. He'll be answering questions after the first evening show. Anyone who loves movies will enjoy hearing him speak, and anyone aspiring to make movies would be foolish to pass up this opportunity to learn from a truly independent filmmaker. Nosey Parker opens Friday, June 4. 232-3906

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