Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 6

Two more shows last Tuesday, starting with the shorts program all about modern approaches to love--#feelings.

BLAKE: Blake is obnoxiously near suicidal in his obsession over his ex. He leaves flowers in her mailbox every day no matter how much she hates it. It even impedes his ability to connect with weirdo hookups on Craigslist. Although one woman he meets that way might just be his salvation.
DULUTH IS HORRIBLE: It sure is. It's cold and dreary, and even worse when you're lonely...as this series of vignettes (sometimes musically) illustrate.
LAST YEAR: A nervous guy works up the courage to propose to his girlfriend on New Year's, and we learn from going back to the previous two New Year's parties that he was just as nervous, tentative, and awkward in previous years.
BEAUTIFUL DREAMER: Kevin quits his job. He can do that, because he's reckless and impulsive. He stalks his ex for the same reason. He picks up an injured pigeon for the same reason and brings it into a church. Where something magical happens. Or a coincidence happens, if you're a cynical bastard like me.
ON YOUR LIPS (HUULILLA): In this Finnish short, a 12 year-old boy and his father's girlfriend's 14-year old daughter spend some time in an amusement park, where he grows up just a little bit.
ANOTHER TIME, MAYBE: In a black and white, semi-improvised film, two strangers meet on the streets in New York, get to talking, and realize they must have known each other from somewhere before.

And then it was time for me to once again introduce LOVELESS ZORITSA. But this time I got to see it with the audience. And I got to enjoy how they laughed at all the right parts, cheered at the end. And I especially enjoyed how many people congratulated me and thanked me for bringing the movie to Indiefest. No doubt about it, no matter how dangerous it is the SF Bay Area loves LOVELESS ZORITSA.

At the same time, Bill Plympton's new film CHEATIN' was playing on the other screen. And normally I would be compelled to see it but...it's playing at Cinequest. And I got a press screener so I've already seen it (actually, I watched it on the plane to Switzerland.) I love Bill Plympton. His sick sense of humor, his inventive visuals (like a dream of being rescued by a hose-wielding fireman transforms into...the use of a different kind of hose.) It might be strange to someone unfamiliar with Plymptoons, but his latest is kinda tamed down (compared to the hijinx of MUTANT ALIENS or I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON.) A bookish woman goes to an amusement park, where an accident with the bumper cars leads her to meet her true love. But when another woman has eyes for him, she schemes to break them up. First convince him that she's cheating. Then invite him to cheat on her. And then she cheats for real, and it all snowballs. It's funny, inventive, and a little twisted--i.e., a Plymptoon. But what struck me this time--and I realize it's true for practically all his films--is that it's a silent film. Not completely silent, but no dialogue, only sound effects and screams. And his use of visual storytelling is fantastic. Study the silent masters, then study Bill Plympton, and it becomes clear that Plympton has studied the silent masters, perfected their art, and taken it to a new level. This is the first time I've noticed the direct lineage from Winsor McCay to Bill Plympton.

Total Running Time: 166 minutes
My Total Minutes: 350,616

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