Friday, February 18, 2011

Jason finishes Indiefest

At least, the 2011 edition. There will always be another one next year.

One new movie last night, the documentary FREE RADICALS: A HISTORY OF EXPERIMENTAL FILM. Director Pip Chodorov is an experimental filmmaker whose father worked in TV and grandfather worked in film. He grew up a fan of experimental film, and the movie is as much about the filmmakers--Hans Richter, Jonas Mekas, Ken Jacobs, Peter Kubelka, Maurice Lemaitre, Robert Breer, Stan Brakhage (hey, one I recognize!), etc. and their work as it is about his hero worship of them. And that's not a bad thing, in fact, it's infectiously fun. Look, I think I qualify as a cinephile, but I'll admit I sometimes roll my eyes and think 'oh, brother' when faced with a program of experimental films. But by showing us the artists who from the 20's until today (okay, it really kind of ends in the 60's/70's, but humor me) have followed their personal visions, have struggled to make a living, and have carved out a little niche for themselves, I'm faced with an inescapable realization: Makers of experimental films are far more interesting and engaging people than watchers of experimental film (and especially those who write about it).

And then I watched THE LAST CIRCUS again, because it's that awesome.

And so, for the tenth year running, I've see all movies in Indiefest. That is, if you don't count the 80's power ballad sing-along (which I count as more movie than party, and besides even if the program was a little different I saw it last year and don't need to again) and do count SEED OF CHUCKY/CHUCKY VS. PEACHES CHRIST (which I do).

I've gone back and forth over the years whether I rate the films or not. Indiefest, like most festivals, asks you to rate each film on a 1-5 scale. Sometimes I'm enthusiastic to do so, especially since I see everything and really can compare them all (I don't think any of the programmers can even say that). On the other hand, I can come out of a movie with a swirling headful of ideas and emotions, and it seems trite and insulting to reduce that to, "I guess that's a 4." This year I did rate everything, so whoever wins the audience award, that's in small part due to me. Of course, this blog is the outlet by which I try to communicate that mass of thoughts. So before we get the final tally on the audience awards, here's my thought on what stood out:

My favorites: KABOOM, THE LAST CIRCUS (incidentally, this is the first festival in maybe forever in which the opening and closing films were among my favorites), THE DRUMMOND WILL, THE BEAST PAGEANT, MACHOTAILDROP (biggest surprise, and I'll give it my "reward for seeing everything" award), WORST IN SHOW, MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED.

Also great: THE EVANGELIST, GABI ON THE ROOF IN JULY (apparently I'm the only one at Indiefest who liked it. It got a great reception at Cinequest last year), A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE, MARS, NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS (the criticism people gave me on this is 'it was too serious.' WTF, I thought it was hilarious!), WE ARE WHAT WE ARE.

Interesting despite flaws (sometimes interesting because of the chances they took that led to the flaws. These actually often become the movies that stick with me later): THE ARISTOCRAT, CORPUSSE, TOUMAST: GUITARS AND KALASHNIKOVS, THE SENTIMENTAL ENGINE SLAYER, THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR, THE TRASHMASTER.

Avoid: TRANSFORMATION: THE LIFE & LEGACY OF WERNER ERHARD, TRIVIALITY (basically, I didn't appreciate the films that were nothing but masturbation)

I know that doesn't cover everything. Tough, I've already given you my somewhat detailed take on everything. I'm not going to categorize everything, too. That's it, I'm done. It's over, go home!

Total Running Time: 181 minutes
My Total Minutes: 224,160

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