Tuesday, August 28, 2007

semi-weekly film recommendation

"As the now-redundant mumblecore movement has the press of the print world a-twitter this week, just as they have enthralled the film blog world for a few years, I thought I’d point out a film that, for no reason I know of, slipped under most people’s radars. As someone in his 20s, I connected more with what The GoodTimesKid had to say about young life and love than with whatever the followers of Mr. Bujalski seem to be mumbling on about. I’m not intending to knock Funny Ha-Ha (2002) or Mutual Appreciation (2005). Those films accomplished a great deal and with very little, making a strong statement about this generation. But beyond that, I’m ready for what was once a humble core of filmmakers to get over their ineloquence. Speak up! or shut up. For the most part, Mr. Jacobs refrains from flapping his gums, letting the characters’ action and inaction do the talking. Made the same year as Mutual Appreciation and ’shot on stolen film’, The GoodTimesKid goes deeper than the rambling nature of the ‘talkies’. The GoodTimesKid sends-up, at the same time it effectively deals with identity-crisis - two charcters share the same name, and something more than just hilarity ensues. What’s more, the reality of today’s world - war, albeit a war fought ‘over there’, but war, nonetheless - lurks in the background, threatening to intersect with the lives of the characters. This, coupled with the emotional late night bus ride of two hearts competing for the attention of another, leads to one of those rare, soul-stirring moments that only film can achieve, causing this audience-member to hold his breath. The need an audience has for a protagonist to root for - Viva Depresso! - is as cinematically timeless as it is universal. The GoodTimesKid provides three such protagonists with whom to identify. Whether you root for one or all of them is up to you. Just as Jacobs is not interested in clearly revealing characters’ intentions, he not going to dictate how to feel about them. And yet, he is making a singular cinematic statement. With a few Godardian audio cuts and more than a few Jarmuschian tableaus, Jacobs takes cues from these predecessors in order to fit his take on the current moment into a larger picture, one that I predict will last longer than the aging-prone mumblecorers. At the heart of it, the new DIY movement makes a well-intentioned clarion call - anyone can pick up a camera and tell a story. And that’s all fine and good, and they may make some Bujalski rip-off with ease, but The GoodTimesKid is not just a statement about the current generation of twentysomethings that anyone could have made. It is a film that only Azazel Jacobs could and did make."
Cinema Stubble

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