After getting a little bit of rest Wednesday night, I was back for two movies on Thursday.
First up, the coming-of-age drama HIDE YOUR SMILING FACES. Two brothers live in the rural Northeast. It's not really an idyllic childhood. They fight, they get in trouble (for playing with a friend's father's gun) they run around in the woods, they steal burgers from the local drive-through. But what innocence was in their youth gets shattered with a shocking discovery. The younger brother's friend is found dead at the bottom of a bridge. No one knows if he fell by accident or jumped on purpose. But this first face at death forces changes. They talk...a bit. But mostly the younger brother starts getting very interested in small living things--bugs, worms, etc. seem to fascinate him. Like death has made him more keenly aware of life. The older brother, meanwhile, becomes moody, reckless, and violent. It's like death has made him rebel and try to prove that he's invincible. It's a careful and atmospheric study of place, character, and age that's thoroughly engrossing.
And then I saw what is probably my favorite film of Indiefest so far (discounting, of course, LOVELESS ZORITSA which I brought there.) DOOMSDAYS is a pre-apocalyptic buddy comedy. In wealthy upstate New York pals Dirty Fred and Bruho traipse through the wood, break into empty houses (when the wealthy owners are off vacationing...or living elsewhere.) Once inside, they eat, trash the place, drink all the booze, and then within a few days--when they're either nearly caught or run out of booze--they move on to the next one. The idea of it being pre-apocalyptic is that after the apocalypse everyone will live like this (we've seen plenty of those movies) so they're just getting a jump on the process. And it's pretty freakin' hilarious. Bruho does it because he's read about peak oil and believes the apocalypse is imminent (and refuses to ride in cars out of principle.) Dirty Fred seems to do it just because he's an asshole--which immediately makes him my favorite character. Along the way they pick up Jaidon, an unpopular, heavy-set young man who seems to prefer their 'fuck society' vibe over the harassment of his sister's popular friends. And then they finally become a foursome with the introduction of a woman, Reyna, who is beautiful enough that she is bound to drive a wedge between the friends. Funny, inventive, and driven by great performances and an unbridled glee in delivering a sincere 'fuck you' to polite society. Splendid, absolutely splendid!
Total Running Time: 170 minutes
My Total Minutes: 350,881