The past week was a whirlwind of creative energy, community-boosting moments, innovative films and overall, a seriously cool culmination of indie spirit in Red Bank, NJ at the second annual Indie Street Film Festival! It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone! And after an inspiring 5 days, the team behind Indie Street Film Festival was beyond honored to announce this year's award winners! "Like Me", directed by Robert Mockler, was named the best narrative feature and "Unrest", directed by Jennifer Brea, took the top prize for best documentary feature as we concluded five days of film screenings plus a wide array of special events and entertainment in Red Bank, New Jersey. Short film winners included Best Narrative Short – "Hold On", directed by Christine Turner and Best Documentary Short – "Little Potato", directed by Wes Hurley and Nathan M. Miller. Best Animation Film was awarded to "Pussy", directed by Renata Gasiorowski. The jury, including noted film critics, producers and filmmakers Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed), Dominic Davis (Rooftop Films), Heidi Reinberg (Producer), Leah Sapin (Human Rights Watch), Meredith Alloway (Writer), William Cusick (Filmmaker/Programmer), James Belfer (CEO, Cartuna), James Siewert (Award-Winning Director/Animator) and Ben Wiessner (Producer, Ornana Films), also presented Special Jury Awards for Best Editing to "Fish Story", directed by Charlie Lyne and Best Comedic Vision to "Business", directed by Kati Skelton. Red Bank artist and resident Gerda Liebmann earned an Audience Choice award for Best New Jersey Film for her first documentary, "You will be Persecuted". Audience Favorites included Best Narrative Short – "Resolutions", directed by Tamara Fisch and Best Narrative Feature – "Life Hack", directed by Sloan Copeland. Among the many discussions presented, notable panels included Adaptation, which included festival Advisory Board Member and noted Actor/Producer Arian Moayed (Rock the Kasbah) and Oscar-winner Mara Kassin, and Meet the Programmers, featuring Larisa Apan (Hamptons Film Festival) and Opal Hope Bennett (Nantucket Film Festival, Doc NYC). A community mural project at Kitch Organic, an appearance by special surprise guest Actor Amir Arison (The Blacklist), a community barbecue, provided by JBJ Soul Kitchen following the screening of "Barbecue", a documentary directed by Matthew Salleh, and the world premiere of "Brothers", the latest work from New Jersey filmmaker Jack Ballo, about two brothers who lived off the grid for four years in the woods of Sayreville, NJ filmed using only the camera in Ballo’s iPhone, were also festival highlights. “The films we’ve shared made us laugh, cry and hungry,” noted Jim Scavone, Executive Director of Red Bank RiverCenter, and the festival’s Managing Director. The films were screened and the special events held at multiple theatrical venues in Red Bank, including the historic Count Basie Theatre, the Two River Theater, Bow Tie Cinema and Red Bank Middle School. Winners from each feature film category will enjoy a shared 1-week theatrical release in NYC. At the awards presentation, Indie Street Film Festival’s Artistic Director Jay Webb confirmed the event would return to Red Bank in 2018 and planned a long-term commitment and partnership with sponsors and the local arts and business communities. Webb also posed a rhetorical question, asking attendees why support for independent artists and filmmakers was important. "In a world of digital content overload that demands more curation and leaves us less physically connected, gathering people in the community around film screenings and the arts is something our whole team believes is of critical importance,” Webb concluded. “Audiences in a theater or at a live art event in the presence of the creators will feel the shared emotional vibrations of the exhibition and truly become a part of the story. Offering locals, especially young people, these types of shared creative experiences can help them learn to accept human differences and not be afraid of them.” For more information about the screening of films from the festival, or how to connect with Indie Street Film Festival organizers, artists and filmmakers, visit www.indiestreetfilmfestival.org or follow us on social media!
As a fan of enjoying a good craft beer with an even (hopefully) better film, I'm always excited to stumble across innovative ways beer and movies converge. Imagine my delight when I discovered the genius of Beer Mat Movies. The twitter page is a witty collection of micro-film reviews written on a single beer mat (AKA beer coaster) for those "on the go". If it don't fit, it don't fly. From recent reviews of mainstream fare like "X-Men: Apocalypse" to kid friendly films like "Zootropolis" and indie horrors such as "The Witch", the extremely concise beer-drinking, film-loving person behind the tweets offers a hilarious new way of analyzing and criticizing film all the while making use of what's under your beer. Keepin' it simple has earned them over 600 followers + counting! As they say, "If you can't sum up your opinion of a film on a beer mat, you're being pretentious." Grab a cold one and check out Beer Mat Movies' twitter to read up on some of their pretty on point, witty reviews.
With its deeply saturated colors and its equally bold plot, Asia Argento's "Misunderstood" is a force of a film. Argento returns to the directing chair for the first time in years with this slightly over the top Italian drama that recalls a style of decades past. The story centers around the life of a severely dysfunctional family of artists and their children. In particular, Argento's story of childhood rebellion mostly focuses in on young Aria, the daughter of a drug addicted pianist and a superstitious, abusive actor. An ode to the stresses of growing up in a world that seemingly doesn't understand you, "Misunderstood" can be best described as a grim fairy tale where the only supernatural forces and dangers we face are the people that should love us the most. Though Argento's supposedly semi-autobiographical film thrives off of caricatures and a level of exaggeration within its characters, colour palette, and situations, there's still a bit of sensitivity embedded within the film that keeps it from becoming too over the top or distant. In fact, there's an undeniably cult vibe exuding from this particularly colorful concoction of a film. Highlights are equally both Charlotte Gainsbourg (Yvonne Casella) and child actress Giulia Salerno's (Aria) work. Both display their acting abilities across a spectrum of bipolar emotions, from fearful and loving to manic and everything in between. Salerno's Aria is our tragic hero, constantly bounced from one parent's house to the other, after her mother and father's excessive hatred of each other separates the family. Aria being thrown out from their homes is usually a result of issues born from their inattentiveness or preference for Aria's sisters. Because her half sisters are, in a way, owned by their respective parent, Aria is the sole child that exists as the reminder born from Yvonne and Padre's (Gabriel Garko) tainted relationship. "A mistake", a symbol of regret and hatred, is the resulting identity that Aria bears, and as she continuously navigates a biased world out to get her, she becomes a far darker, more rebellious version of herself. In the end, her final tipping point, after years of abuse from her own family, are her friends and peers' mockery of her life. What we are left with is a swift and brutal end to the story with small traces of false hope shining forth through the credits. Aria's life is cyclical for the time being, so we end her portrait of it the only way we can. Excessive and dark in a world of deep, bold colours and 80s fashion flair, "Misunderstood" is a hodge podge of styles that all come together to tell a uniquely blended coming of age story of a lone girl in a world that doesn't quite know what to make of her. A naive oddity, just like the film, Aria captures the audience and holds our attention with her deep blue eyes and unrelenting hope for someone to love her. As Asia Argento's third directorial offering and an Italian Un Certain Regard entry at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, "Misunderstood" is certainly a product of its own title. It will take open-minded audiences to crave, devour and understand this rainbow hued, sometimes magically unrealistic childhood drama. Available on various VOD platforms, Argento's film of contrasts and edginess creates an imagined world that segue-ways far from reality yet still manages to vividly share with us a world full of very real emotions.
All of us at Indie Street are stoked to be partnering up with #000000;" data-mce-mark="1">Maria Dicieanu, Submarine Channel author and former 2Pause.com editor, to bring you a monthly serving of some of the most artistic, innovative music videos currently being produced! #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: large;"> #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: large;">For our first installment of "Maria's Pick", the featured music video for May is an interactive spectacle well worth checking out! Maria discusses the intricacies of the #000000;">video for the late Jeff Buckley's cover of “Just Like a Woman” below: #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: large;">"The undeniable “kings of interactive music videos”, aka peeps at Interlude (responsible for Bob Dylan's “Like a Rolling Stone”), released yet another gorgeous online experience, this time for the late Jeff Buckley's unreleased cover of “Just Like a Woman”. Making use of graphic novel inspired panels, the interactive music video gives users the possibility of choosing between 4 different story lines within each new window: the boy's, the girl's, the happy boy+girl couple and its almost separated version. "The goal of this video is for both existing and new fans to enjoy many ways of experiencing the music, and for each individual audience member to return over and over to be involved with the emotion differently each time," said Yoni Block, Interlude CEO and co-founder. A perfect concept given the song itself is both a recent release and a reinterpretation of Bob Dylan classic at the same time. Find out more about how the music video was made by watching its making of." #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: large;">You can check out the music video via Buckley's official site and try your hand at visually composing your own narratives to complement the music with just a click of your mouse! For the best viewing experience, Google Chrome is the suggested browser. Enjoy & see you next month! #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: large;">About Maria: #000000; font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: large;">"Multimedia in Human Form. Media researcher. Journalist. Filmmaker. PR and Social Media Mind. Cinephille. TV Shows aficionado. Books Lover. Music Video guru and former curator of the 2Pause.com project"
Ah, the craft beer boom. Such a wonderful thing. The amount of ingenuity going into the brewing process is one thing, but the creativity being seen on beer packaging and marketing materials these days is taking the industry to a whole new level. Now, I bet you didn't know that when art and beer collide, sometimes things can get...well, a little animated and practically come to life! Imagine enjoying your favorite beers - but in motion! That's what one craft beer lover has been working on for the past couple of years. Trevor Carmick, the creator behind Beer Labels in Motion, has embedded a rather unique flavor of imagination into the drinking experience by animating the very images and words on the labels of his favorite beers. Believe us, it makes for one magical, complementary experience. Impressed, we asked Trevor the story behind his creations: "I started my animations in 2013. They began as a way to test various filters within Adobe After Effects and play around with various techniques I had seen in online tutorials. I had always loved the way cinemagraphs looked and I’d always wanted to create some myself. The only problem is I didn’t have a tripod or camera to lug around and capture anything. One day I was looking at a beer bottle and thought, “I could animate the picture on the label and that could be almost like a cinemagraph.” I created a couple of them after hours at work (I’m a video editor) because the computer there was much faster than my home computer. My co-worker, #1155cc; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal;" href="http://angulargeometry.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">Tyler Haywood, saw them and after my 3rd, he finally convinced me to start a blog and post them. I honestly didn’t think they’d gather too much attention outside of people who liked craft beer. I was wrong! A couple months later, TIME listed me in their #1155cc; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal;" href="http://techland.time.com/2013/08/05/the-25-best-bloggers-2013-edition/slide/all/" target="_blank">Top 25 Bloggers of 2013. I still don’t consider myself a blogger!" Definitely a well deserved praise. Beer Labels in Motion is a hypnotic and innovative outlet that all can enjoy, whether as a beer-lover or a non-drinker. Thirsty for more info? Be sure to check out Trevor's crafty animations via his website or on social media:InstagramFacebookTwitter Below are some of the artist's favorite animations as well as a pick of our own. Enjoy! #1) Heady Topper Double IPA by The Alchemist:
#FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="6">#F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;"> #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/0B4h80ila2/" target="_blank">Heady Topper is a double IPA brewed by The Alchemist in VT. It's easily one of my favorite beers of all time and it drives me nuts not being able to get it here in Boston (or easily in VT for that matter!). This beer easily lives up to the massive hype around it. Drink Fresh! #gif #craftbeer #beerlabel #vt Credit goes to idrinkgoodbeer.com for the original can photo.#c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A video posted by Trevor Carmick (@beerlabelsinmotion) on Mar 9, 2015 at 6:52pm PDT
#2) Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale by Flying Dog Brewery:
#FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="6">#F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;"> #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/2tXqoCClab/" target="_blank">I might be a little biased being from Maryland but Dead Rise is one hell of a good beer! Brewed using Maryland’s favorite seasoning, Old Bay, this summer ale by @flyingdogbrewery is my surprise hit of the season. It has a hint of Old Bay with a bitter citrus finish and is absolutely delicious. #beerlabel #gif #animation #craftbeer Special thanks to my friend Anna @Afras25 who sent me some here in Boston!#c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A video posted by Trevor Carmick (@beerlabelsinmotion) on May 15, 2015 at 9:14am PDT
#3) Route of All Evil Black Ale by Two Roads Brewery:
#FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="6">#F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;"> #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/-1-Bg4ilTv/" target="_blank">Take the road less shoveled with this fantastic Black Ale by @tworoadsbrewing from Connecticut. This beer easily made the list of my top favorite winter beers ever. They say it isn’t quite a stout/porter or black IPA but I’ll let you decide. (I think it tastes like an intense Black IPA). #gif #beerlabel #animation #bottle #clown #snowing #tricycle #creepy #stout #porter #blackipa #fire #burning#c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A video posted by Trevor Carmick (@beerlabelsinmotion) on Dec 3, 2015 at 12:35pm PST
#4) 60 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head:
#FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="6">#F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;"> #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BAdTur-ClSN/" target="_blank">60 Minute is the best IPA brewed by @dogfishbeer . In my opinion, it's balanced in all the right ways compared to the 90 and 120. What's your favorite? #gif #animation #beer #beerlabel #beerlabelart #ipa #beerlabelsinmotion#c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A video posted by Trevor Carmick (@beerlabelsinmotion) on Jan 12, 2016 at 3:46pm PST
#5) Edmund Fitzgerald by Great Lakes Brewing Co.:
#FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="6">#F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;"> #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BBgnXRGClXK/" target="_blank">One of my favorite porters of all time, Edmund Fitzgerald by Great Lakes Brewing Co. @glbc_cleveland . This gem taught me that beer is more than just Bud Light and Miller Lite. Original photo credit: Noel at The Perfectly Happy Man Craft Beer Reviews and Pictures www.theperfectlyhappyman.com #beerlabelsinmotion #porter #beerlabelart #beerlabel #instabeer #brewstagram #ilovebeer #craftbeer #beerporn #craftbeerporn #beeranimation #edmundfitzgerald #beergeek #greatlakesbrewing #beergif #lakesuperior#c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A video posted by Trevor Carmick (@beerlabelsinmotion) on Feb 7, 2016 at 7:07pm PST
#6) Ginga Ninja IPA by Black Hog Brewery:
#FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="6">#F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;"> #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BC9OZruClQH/" target="_blank">Ginga Ninja is an IPA brewed by @blackhogbeer from Connecticut. You’ll find a delicious balance of fresh ginger and piney hops in this year-round brew. My next goal: pair this beer with some sushi! If you like this animation and others, please tag a beer friend and spread the word! #blackhogbrewing #CTbeer #instabeer #beerlabel #beerlabelsinmotion #hoppybeer #brewstagram #beerporn #beergeek #indiapaleale #craftbeer #ginger #redhead #dcb #drinkcraftbeer #ginganinja #beergif #blackhogbrewing #sushi#c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A video posted by Trevor Carmick (@beerlabelsinmotion) on Mar 14, 2016 at 7:18pm PDT
While every year new films come into our lives and stir up our emotions, rarely can they affect us in such a raw, uninhibited way. Even from the very first line of its synopsis, you know “Thank You for Playing” is that rare breed of film that you accept is going to unapologetically leave you stunned. Think back to the most personal tragedy of your life. Really dig deep into that grief. Now, imagine going back to that moment and…making a video game about it. Yes, a video game. Bizarre, sure, but there’s one couple out there that did just that. As parents of a young boy with terminal cancer, not only did they live with that pain every single day until the inevitable happened, they also transformed their situation by opening themselves up to a creative outlet. What a film like “Thank You for Playing” teaches us is that the absurdity of creating a game about cancer only lasts for a brief moment before it turns into something transcendental - something more. Watching this film introduces us to the fact that creation can become a new coping mechanism, bringing us a beautiful new way of understanding and immortalising a life. Filmmaking duo David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall wanted to chronicle the behind the scenes work that went into the video game “The Dragon, Cancer”, created by parents Ryan and Amy Green, as a way to understand and show others how it was to care for terminally ill child, Joel, in his final years. Cutting between scenes of the video game process and footage of home, hospital and family life, viewers fall deep into a strange yet beautiful rabbit hole of emotion. One must wonder, why did the filmmakers make such a personal, private film in the first place? But just like inquiries into the existence of the game itself, it only takes watching a little bit of the film to understand the necessity of telling this story. “Thank You for Playing” is a documentary that goes beyond the constraints of so many video game films before it. That’s the ironic nature of its success - its fiction is real. Though it’s a film that doesn’t beat around the bush in terms of its inevitable outcome, don’t be scared of that brutal conclusion. The film brings many other moral questions to light: can art really be a therapeutic outlet? Are creative endeavours for the sake of healing just exploitation of an otherwise private situation? Though I believe you need to watch the film to truly decide that for yourself, there’s no denying the honesty exuding from this film, scene to scene to scene.
“Thank You for Playing” was released via various VOD outlets this past March and is absolutely worth the watch. While it chronicles both the creative and mourning process, this film also memorialises the short but profound life of a young child that left behind a legacy far greater than he could have ever imagined.
Masked by the mysterious identities of its directors and a darkly misleading title, going blindly into a film like 'Everyone’s Going to Die' can trigger a confused initial impression. However, British collective duo “Jones” quickly reveal the direction their debut feature will take. From the opening title, where every person that worked on the film is immediately named and given a mass identity, to the surprisingly sweet story that follows, this is a film about raw human connection. Having had its premiere at SXSW, this underrated British indie is finally releasing to U.S. audiences. While the film focuses on the relationship between a young German woman and older English man, the appeal of this film is universal: when you find that rare human connection, it can be the most powerful thing in the world, wherever you are. 'Everyone’s Going to Die' takes on many familiar indie quirks but transforms them into something totally new. In this universe, we follow the aimless wanderings of two strangers as they crash into each other’s messy lives. Melanie (played by German favorite, Nora Tschirner) is an immigrant living in a small coastal town in England with an absent fiancé. Things get interesting when she meets a mysterious, potential hitman named Ray (played by former carpet fitter and brilliant first time actor, Rob Knighton). Ray has just arrived in town following the death of his brother and has a secret “job” to carry out. It’s not until these two meet that they start to question their existence in not only this small town, but in the overall lives they have carved out for themselves. Sharing similar feelings of not belonging but constantly inspiring each other with conflicting opinions on the nitty-gritty of life, this isn’t a case of two lost souls having everything in common. This is a case of two lost souls having almost nothing in common but still fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s not about physicality - it’s about conversation. That strange, unidentifiable connection between two strangers is what structures the minimalism within the narrative of this film. And it's that concept, coupled with the constraints of a low budget, that allows this strange, whimsical link between the two leads blossom into something totally beautiful and real. Indie Street is happy to present the exclusive U.S. VOD release of this modern British “dramedy”. This is an adventure into finding the meaning of comfort and “home”, made up of small moments that are evenly paced with brilliance and wittiness. From dead siblings reincarnated as cats to roller skating beavers, televised porn hotlines, and a morbid family play that cleverly delivers the origins of the film's title, the humor is quirky, understated and complementary to a lo-fi script that focuses on character development over filler. It’s in the very final moments of the film that you may find your hopes for humanity slightly lifted. Yes, one day we will die. Everyone’s going to die eventually. But first, there are many things yet to experience. Memorable duo Melanie and Ray just go to show that life is too short to make the wrong decisions. Give this one a watch - we promise it won't kill you! Click here to watch the film now on Indie Street!
We have all probably struck up some questionable friendships in the unlikeliest of situations. In "Lamb", it just so happens that our two protagonists find their spark through a cigarette. Set within a world that feels like a latter day Lolita, this unsettling film follows the indefinable relationship between two struggling individuals that happen to sit on very different ends of the age spectrum. Unhappiness and spontaneity, amongst other things, are the catalysts that drive a 40-something year old man to deem a friendship with an 11 year old girl as acceptable after she innocently asks him for a cigarette in a dare gone awry. Ross Partridge takes the reins as not only director but actor and adapter of this story based on the novel by Bonnie Nadzam. Is this film a simple matter of identifying what could be a wolf in sheep's clothing or is it a much deeper and innocent portrait showcasing the role of destiny in our struggle to find comfort and acceptance in this world? The premise of "Lamb" is simple on the surface but dark and deeply complicated below the obvious. Having just lost his father and starting to witness the unraveling of his marriage and affair, David Lamb (Partridge) finds himself face to face with a [keyword: very] young girl (Oona Laurance). Her high heels and cool demeanor suggest she is aged beyond her 11 years. From here we witness these two lost souls finding each other in the corner of a desolate parking lot .. and well, you can almost see where this is going tone-wise. A kidnapping joke, or more like role play, will cement the fate of the two and set the wheels of the narrative in motion towards a very unsettling yet necessary and exposed ending. Setting out West to escape the monotony of life, seeking to find something more, some beauty in the world, the two set out for their paradise and a slew of roadblocks to their destiny. A film that is soaking in symbolism, morals, and immoral scenarios, "Lamb" proves that, though you can try to run away from life, bothersome realities will eventually find you again. It makes us ponder - who or what is the real innocent here - who is the real lamb of the story? For whatever sense of relief or anxiety the film’s ending may give you, what the film sets up is a scenario that makes us question relationships and the role that society has over defining them. Whether an inappropriate but harmless connection, something down right predatory or simply human desperation for comfort, the open road takes these two on a trip that will affect the rest of their lives. "Lamb", though sometimes lost in the dark confusion of its own plot, is a film well worth watching if only to help us in understanding something necessary about human connections and ourselves.
Ethiopia-based Director Miguel Llansó has created a debut feature that plays out less like your typical film and more like an unpredictable dream. On screen is a sparse, extraterrestrial looking Ethiopia that worships Michael Jordan, barters over "historical" Ninja Turtle figurines, and tries to figure out the mystery of the dormant spacecraft hovering above them. If there ever was a romantic, post-apocalyptic sci-fi film coming out of Ethiopia that was full of characters hell bent on obtaining pop cultural artifacts, avoiding second generation Nazis and finding Santa Clause, this would be it. An imaginative quest of a film that is certainly a mouthful to even describe, you may be asking yourself, "What did I just watch?", and though far from perfect, the unique edge of this film may be enough to quell your confusions.Our view of this post-apocalyptic world, after the big war, comes through the eyes of Candy (played by Llansó favorite, Daniel Tadesse), the film's petite, slumped hero that believes he comes from another land. As he embarks on a journey to find a way onboard the reactivated spacecraft in the sky, we see him travel through a world both deeply profound and nonsensical, in order to find a way to what he believes is his true home. The country's landscape is disarming and used to its greatest potential, with Daniel Tadesse’s Candy working at drawing us even more into this crumbling world. His lover, Birdy (newcomer Selam Tesfaye), is with child and waits for him at home, biding her growing anxieties in a dilapidated bowling alley. Supplementing their story are segments within the film regarding a cocky "antiques dealer". We are introduced to his bartering intermittently throughout Candy's journey, learning the "histories" and anecdotes behind various cheap pop cultural artifacts from the past (AKA our present).It helps to know that the film was inspired by a quote from professor Seifu Yohannes about the end of the world and how all that will remain will be "a series of cheap plastic figurines floating in the stratosphere once everything has finally exploded". "Crumbs" shows this depressing landscape well, where mankind’s hopes and dreams will cease to be of any great importance in the end. In this world, human life has lost its value. The survival of mankind is no longer a priority. Left to fend for themselves, they get by from trading random items as if they were great relics of a lost time. Like some voodoo spell, something about this hodge-podge of a film entices you into this very specific dreamscape, despite the disturbing references to what it means for our time.If you're on the hunt for something different, away from the mainstream and rehashed, "Crumbs" may just fit the bill. With a low budget and minimal sources, Miguel Llansó was able to manifest a highly imaginative world out of the alien-like qualities of Ethiopia's landscapes. It's that simultaneously primitive yet futuristic feel that becomes the true heart of this film. Winner of the New Flesh Award for Best First Feature at the 2015 Fantasia Film Festival and nominated for the FIPRESCI Prize at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, "Crumbs" is now available in the US on VOD and DVD. Go ahead, reserve your seat on the spaceship, at least to say you did. At only 68 minutes, it's well worth the unusual ride.
Hungarian photographer Flóra Borsi's latest project Animeyed, features animals superimposed over self-portraits so that the two faces overlap. Her work is almost always thought provoking, but the color and composition of these photos are particulary captivating.
In only a few short years, Franco-Argentine filmmaker Gaspar Noé has become a notorious go-to director for disturbing, boundary pushing material, even brutally so with 2002's "Irreversible". After his recent 2010 psychedelic, drug-infused thriller "Enter the Void", it only seemed fair to anticipate Noé's next offering, a raw film about a love story complete with very up-close and personal sex scenes. However, amongst the slew of melancholic scenes of longing and sex aplenty, complete with all the fixings, "Love" stills manages to come across as one of Noé's more subdued, bridled works. "Love" is a film as potentially titillating as it is aggravating in its mechanical and one note depiction of the fusion of love and intimacy. It's a sex film with an energetic void in place of a heart. A deconstruction of "Love" leaves us with a premise and backstory that is rather simple. Noé sticks our main character, a self-reflexive, American film student named Murphy (Karl Glusman), in Paris. He's an appreciative lover of European culture (and women) but still has the relentless pride and ignorance of an American. As is the natural progression of a love story, boy meets girl. Electra (Aomi Muyock), a freeloving, fiery French artist, becomes Murphy's obsession and the catalyst for his own downfall. When Murphy becomes entranced with the young girl next door (another new comer, Klara Kristin), his life becomes a series of disenchanted normalities, calling for a serious session of reflection. This is where we enter the story. Here, the beginning of the film is the end of Murphy's narrative. In the present day, Murphy, now a father and husband within a loveless marriage with the once tempting neighbor, receives a call saying Electra is missing. Fearing the worse, possibly even suicide, we journey back in time with him and revisit where their relationship (and subsequently his life) blossomed and then suddenly went wrong. Muyock, Glusman and Kristin have no inhibitions in their breakthrough roles as newcomers, and do their very best with the material they were given. With such honesty and raw storytelling, it's hard to say which twist and turn is to blame for the story's faltering progression and tediousness. In various interviews, Noé explains the onslaught of sex within this film is a reflection of some sense of reality. However, when you strip it all down and just look at the story, reality just seems tired amongst all of the gimmick. Perhaps with a film like "Love", one that could haphazardly rest within the mainstream art house genre, its legacy will never be about actual talent. It will live on briefly as a conversation piece, a semi-notorious cult film in a sea of other boundary pushing films of its kind. I, for one, did not partake in seeing this film within its intended theatrical 3D setting. I chose to watch it on the small screen, a personal experience without the constant shame and distraction of watching within a crowd of questionable audience goers. However, the idea of voyeurism quickly morphed into tedious work. At the very end, there's a glimmer of something - a deep sense of loss fills the screen, as Murphy mourns much more than a past girlfriend. He mourns the loss of life and motivation - something that, if touched upon deeper, could have made this a film with far greater impact.
If you can't manage to see the film in 3D or on the big screen (really, don't worry yourself about it), the provocative, luring drama "Love" is available on several VOD platforms, including Vimeo on Demand through its distributor, Alchemy. Noé explains that banning a film (which was the case in some places with "Love") gives it a sense of intrigue and mystery, making people want to see it more. Take that as you will, but go in warned and be prepared: sex, sex, sex, a little story, a touch of melancholy and more tedious sex await.