Friday, February 13, 2015

Jason goes to Indiefest--Day 8

Two feature films last Thursday. First up was WILD CANARIES, the latest from the indie film power couple Lawrence Levine and Sophia Takal (who are still the face of partying at Cinequest from when they brought GABI ON THE ROOF IN JULY there years ago.) They play engaged couple Noah and Barri. Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat plays their roommate Jean. There seems to be some discord in Noah and Barri's romance. Noah stays out late drinking and gambling with their landlord. He's also paranoid that Barri has a romantic interest in Jean. Not far fetched, since his previous girlfriend left him for a woman after he "annoyed the straight" out of her. Of course, the fact that he stills works with his ex and is kinda trying to get back together with her doesn't help matters. Oh yeah, and there's a murder mystery in this screwball comedy, too. The kindly old lady next door has passed away. And while it looks like a heart attack, it might be something else. And of course it is. And it turns out a little sleuthing and a bit of violence (all directed onto Noah) are exactly what they need to rekindle the passion in their romance. That was a lot of fun. And it's an interesting time to follow indie film, as all these filmmakers I've seen come up through the "mumblecore" movement (whether that's a fair label or not) are branching out into more genre projects but still keeping that strange and fresh low-budget make-a-film-with-whatever-you-got sensibility.

And then the oddest film in the festival so far, 101 SECRETS, by returning filmmaker Tophy Cho (A RIPPLE IN THE WORLD, Indiefest 2007.) It's a non-linear journey through Buddhism, video games, strip clubs and prison, featuring pussy and french fries (who doesn't love pussy and french fries?) Cho stars as a hobo who finds himself trapped in a video game where he must beat the boss/devil/Mr. Wonderful in order to escape and/or achieve nirvana. Huh, that's a weirdly succinct way to say it. I'm not sure that captures it. I'm not sure if anything captures it. Anyway, Cho is even weirder than he was when he was here for A RIPPLE IN THE WORLD, telling stories about casting the movie on Craigslist and working with a homeless guy who stepped in his own shit and smeared it all over the inside of Cho's car. He also provided Red Bull to the audience, which helped counteract the effects of the beer I had been drinking earlier. So that was much appreciated. Oh yeah, and his movie is insane. He knows that.

Total Running Time: 179 minutes
My Total Minutes: 383,100

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