Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Jason goes to Indiefest--Closing Night

It's almost over...two films (including actual film!) last Thursday night.

First up was LEAP YEAR GIRL and I guess it's encouraging to see Japan get aboard the mumblecore train? Emi has returned home for the first time in 12 years. All her friends have moved on and are doing adult things. She's still trying to be an actress, but with not a lot of luck (although she'll occasionally run into someone who has seen her work.) She meets a nice videographer and they have a brief relationship. But mostly it's about her trying to avoid embarrassment while still pursuing her destined fame as an actress. Occasionally funny, and the lead is a strong actress, but I wasn't too impressed. Perhaps it was just too late in the festival to hold my interest.

And then the closing film, the excellent 35 mm experimental gumshoe thriller TOO LATE. John Hawkes stars as Sampson, a private investigator, and the story plays out as five 20-minute shots. No edits, no cuts except for the film reel changes. And the story jumps around in time, leaving large gaps and allowing us to play in the style without getting too caught up with the mechanics of the story. We start with the murder--a young stripper is killed in a park in LA, and Sampson can't get there quite in time. We jump to him confronting the...if not the murderer, certainly the guy who ordered it. We go back in time to see his meeting, three years ago, and one special night he had with the victim. We go well into the future to see how his life turns out. And ultimately the last reel contains a major spoiler that ties it all together very well. The gimmickiness of "no cutting" fades away pretty quickly as it becomes more about the immediacy and sincerity of each scene. And just the technical skill to make this film is incredible, and well worth it. A great ending to Indiefest 2016.

Oh, and TOO LATE is being rolled out independently, on 35 mm, over the next few months. Including April 8 in San Francisco, San Jose, and Berkeley. More information here.

Total Running Time: 196
My Total Minutes: 420,298

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