Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The director known as blackANDwhite gives a rare and revealing glimpse into the mind and working habits of David Lynch. Sometimes funny, sometimes bizarre but always entertaining, the film is as experimental and abstract as the filmmaker it covers.
For those who are disappointed never to really get a sense of how Lynch works from the limited extras in his DVD releases, Lynch goes beyond the trademark chain smoking and weird hairdo to show an outgoing, pleasant human being with an insatiable creative drive and a love for Bastille Day. (It will make sense when you see it.)
Shot in black & white and color in different formats over two years, the main thread of the film is Lynch's preparation and filming of Inland Empire. blackANDwhite is there when Lynch announces the project to his devoted davidlynch.com members, through filming as he guides Laura Dern, whose look of excitement and attentiveness while listening to Lynch makes you think she'd go to the ends of the earth for her director.
Some of the best scenes are Lynch just siting at his desk telling stories. There's a series of tales about his time living in Philadelphia, the day as a kid when he came across a dead, bloated cow and tried to puncture it with his pick ax and his dreams (I'll let you imagine what David Lynch dreams about). There's also a great sequence where he oohs and ahs over the photos he's taken in dingy Polish factories.
But like Lynch's films it's the weird details that stick out for me in the doc. The most memorable is when blackANDwhite films Lynch recording the sound of an old record player. With a cigarette dangling out of the side of his mouth, the ash as long as what he has left of the cigarette, Lynch demands silence, and when he gets it begins turning the hand crank on the side of the player. A grinding sound comes out and after 15-20 seconds blackANDwhite cuts to a shot inside a moving train, a recurring image in the film, but when we've seen the shot previously there wasn't any sound, now he uses the grinding sound to substitute that of a moving train.
A beautiful transition that would make the film's subject proud.
Lynch is currently on sale through Absurda (a.k.a. davidlynch.com for $15.91).
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Sunday, September 7, 2008
Named one of 2007's 25 New Faces of Independent Film, Memphis writer-director Kentucker Audley's debut feature continues the mumblecore tradition of twentysomethings exploring life and love, but set out in the country where things are a little more laid back than the usual metropolitian mumblecore setting, Audley's (who's real name is Andrew Nenninger) tender tale of a young man on the cusp of adulthood is a loose, comedic look at a simple life that grows more complicated by the day.
Also starring as the lead, Audley plays a young musician who spends his days writing songs while lounging in his kiddie pool with his roommate (played hilariously by the film's d.p. Tim Morton) until he runs into Sarah and goes on a road trip with her to Chicago where he falls for her. But will this puppy love last when they get back home?
Our own Nick Dawson writes an essay for the DVD booklet in the Benten Films release. He writes:
Team Picture feels incredibly real and intimate, and much of this stems from Nenninger's ability to be uninhibited yet unpretentious in front of the camera. In the awkward interactions with his family, in the slowly burgeoning romance with the girl he meets next door, Sarah (Amanda Harris), or in the moments he sits silently and sadly alone, the camera is capturing -- but not altering -- his reality. One of Team Picture's great strengths is that it gives the illusion that we're watching people just being themselves. Nenninger's dialouge is scarily familiar, eschewing overly crafted Hollywood patter for the often comical idiosyncrasies of everyday speech. Tentatively signalling to Sarah that he wants to hang out with her, David tells her he has a kiddie pool. "Do you like enjoyment?" he asks, bumblingly. "There's actually room for more than one enjoyer."
Currently on sale, disc also includes director commentary, a new epilogue to the film, a short by Audley and deleted scenes. Cost: $21.95.
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