Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jason goes to Docfest--Day 9

Yeah, I spent two consecutive days at Docfest! (in fact, I'm writing on my third consecutive Docfest day) In past years, that's nothing, but with my schedule that's an accomplishment this year.

Anyway, two more movies with the theme of nudity and self-love (giggitty!)

First up, MAY I BE FRANK. Frank Ferrante is (spoiler alert: was) a fat, self-loathing Sicilian with a history of drugs and alcohol, an estranged daughter, and a host of physical ailments--most importantly Hepatitis C. Talking one day to friends who run a Vegan restaurant (now that's a story they didn't get into--how did Frank ever walk into a Vegan restaurant?), he mentions that all he wants to do is fall in love and be loved once more before he dies. But no one (he believes) can love him looking like he does. Heck, he can't even love himself. So the three kids--Ryland, Cary, and Connor--take this as a challenge, and challenge him to a 42 day project. He will eat all his meals vegan (at their restaurant, if possible), will do daily affirmations, will keep a journal, and will go through any other "cleansing" processes they choose for him (yes, colonics are involved--hence the nudity theme of the night). And they will videotape the whole thing, and in doing so these complete amateurs became film directors. With such an outspoken personality, Frank is bound to be entertaining, and he is. For quite a while, it plays like a trio of annoying hippies torture a goombah (watching him drink wheatgrass juice is more painful than anything I've seen in the JACKASS movies). And I know it's totally wrong of me, but there's a part of me that liked the big, fat, unhealthy goombah more. Frank was there for the screening, and he looks tiny compared to what's on screen. I'm very happy that he's healthier and happier, and that he is on speaking terms with his daughter and ex-wife. He doesn't drink wheatgrass juice regularly anymore--although after seeing the movie people like buying him wheatgrass shots and colonics. And, of course, he's still as outspoken and hilarious. Despite what I wrote just a few sentences ago about preferring the fat, unhealthy goombah, after an hour and a half of such a (pun intended) frank look at him, he becomes a sort of friend, and I like to see my friends do well.

Next up was SEX MAGIC. Early on someone describes the Sedona Temple as like Oz, and shaman Baba Dez is the Wizard of Oz. When I heard that line, I thought to myself that the Great and Terrible Oz was a fraud, a humbug, just a weak little man pulling levers to manipulate a greater illusion. And whether intentional or not, that thought colored the rest of the movie. Dez practices tantra, polyamory, and sexual healing. But of all the thousands of women he's made love to, his true beloved is Maya. But then she up and leaves him. She claims she was okay with polyamory, but the extreme level of his promiscuity was too much for her. So he hatches a plan to get her back--using Sex Magic. That is, harnessing orgasmic energy for casting spells (or something like that). Basically, she left because he was having sex with too many other women, and his plan to get her back is too have lots more sex with many other women.

There was a lot of discussion in the Q&A over whether the movie was making fun of Dez and other practitioners at the temple. I was inclined to believe not--the movie was a sincere look at him, and it's just reality that makes it funny. But thinking about it more I think it goes back to the Wizard of Oz line. If it (the line and my reaction) was intentional, then yes, the movie is making fun of him. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Total Running Time: 167 minutes
My Total Minutes: 212,171
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