The illustrious Slamdance Film Festival 2017 is almost over and it’s been a wild ride. Movies, jury duties and reviews galore, have made the Park City excursion a memorable time indeed. But before we announce winners in Narrative (and the many other respective categories!) wanted to get up a few more reviews of flicks I saw outside my official duties. Strange mother/son stories, docs about strong gals and backward boys and flick about finding closure all adorn the four reviews enclosed. Check out the skinny on The Erlprince, Hotel Coolgardie, Supergirl and Suck It Up below.
A wonderfully strange Polish piece of cinema that’s fully beyond story and style categorization. The film centers on mother and her almost co-dependent relationship with her seeming genius son that includes everything from adolescent rage to incest fantasies. The film does dip a bit with the inclusion of an ailing father – an unneeded addition in such a duo drama. But under the skilled and watchful eye of writer/director Kuba Czekaj the film prevails and is told with the wild whimsy of a grim fairy tale that grabs you.
An engaging doc that almost seems to travel back in time to an era when women were merely considered eye candy for uncouth males. The “Hotel” in question is in an isolated town in Australia where the ogre owner hires out young naïve gals to tend bar and please the local mostly male townsfolk. Of course the toll taken on the two gals filmmaker Pete Gleeson follows is the centerpiece, as their breakdown of self worth diminishes. But it’s the surprisingly candid tales of woe and sadness from the normally bravado brave chauvinist males that proves to be the hidden gem – the emotional hallways of this hotel have heft.
Dug the two-fold effective of this doc involving a bold 11-year-old girl Naomi Kutin dealing with normal teenage issues alongside a very successful yet stressful career in competitive powerlifting. (Meaning both sides get ample interesting examination time!) Plus Director Jessie Auritt stages the sport stuff with skilled edge-of-your-seat storytelling (I felt like I was watching those final bouts in The Karate Kid!), but also manages to cover some of the angst and apprehension of such endeavors with insight from Naomi and her family. (Is this really a good thing for a gal so young!) She may be young, but this gal has a super story to tell.
SUCK IT UP
This spirited but ben there don that tale involves a couple of friends – on wild, one straight-laced – who are left dealing with the unresolved issues with the death of a loved one. The down side is this is familiar story and characters we’ve seen before and done better. The upside is as the odd couple of the piece Erin Carter and Grace Glowicki manage to elevate their seemingly stereotypical characters and as a result Suck It Up doesn’t suck.