Friday, March 18, 2005

DAY FOUR: Kids These Days

You're Gonna Miss Me **1/2
Documentary on Roky Erickson, a musical legend primarily known for fronting the 13th Floor Elevators, who pioneered psychedelic rock. This doc was the top of my list of music docs to see, because he's the closest to the line of influences on me and my band members.

But this documentary has very little to say about his music, instead focusing on his relationship to his mother. Roky experimented heavily with drugs in the 60s and 70s, which led to his incarceration in a mental institution where he was treated with shock therapy. Since all of this, his mental health has deteriorated. He would often drown out the voices in his head by having multiple televisions and radios on loudly in his house at the same time. He lived with his mother in this state for a long time, and she didn't allow him to take drugs to help correct his mental health.

Ultimately, the filmmakers didn't come up with enough really interesting material to craft into a film. Also, it is non-chronological and the editing choices do not leave one with a clear picture of how his mental health progressed over his life.

The highlight for me: seeing Roky in person.

Kissing on the Mouth ***
This film blends audio from interviews of college-aged youth about sex and relationships with a narrative about four such youth and their relationships. Very explicit by American standards, but the most extraordinary thing to me was how the director shot in detail, so while conversations are going on we see little things like fidgeting.

The film is slow (though I do not ever consider this a negative thing on it's own), and at first I didn't understand why I should care about seeing these characters doing very mundane things such as brushing their teeth, dressing and.... masturbating in the shower. But then I realized how little these things are photographed.

The four-member cast was also the complete crew, and all four were in attendance. They had a lot of intelligent things to say about their movie. Though it's far from a masterpiece, I think they have a point about how certain things are never shown on film, and some things like sex are never shown in the ordinary, mundane way they normally happen. Sex in American film is either romanticized heavily (and shows only certain things), or it is porn.

A Hole in My Heart **
A Swedish drama, directed by Lukas Moodysson (Lilya 4-ever), about four people in an apartment, making amateur porn for the Internet. It focuses (usually) on Eric, the teenaged son of Rickard who is filming the porn, and how he is so distant from his father and the revolting occurences that are going on in their living room.

The movie is intentionally shocking to the point where there is nothing else to the movie. There is no development in the plot or the characters, though the film tries to hint at what went on in their lives to bring them to this pathetic state. The saving graces of the film or the interesting character of Eric, and the respite of the final, hopeful scenes.

The Edukators ****
Here, finally, is a masterpiece among the contemporary, politically-conscious German films. Daniel Bruehl (of last year's excellent Goodbye, Lenin!) co-stars as one of three German youth who call themselves "The Edukators". They break into rich peoples' mansions, and without stealing or damaging anything, they rearrange the furniture and leave a message: "Your days of plenty are numbered".

But this is just the first half of the film. Then, one of their break-ins goes wrong and they end up kidnapping one of their victims to keep him from identifying them. They go to an abandoned cabin in the mountains to decide their next step, and end up discovering they have quite a bit in common with their victim.

I'm not going to lie, some people will probably find this film a bit slow (it's 2hrs and 15 mins) and didactic, but the political conversations in the film are brilliantly written and from a point-of-view which respects how different people can be liberal or conservative (and how the same person can be liberal in his/her youth and conservative in middle-age). Great performances and great direction and an unexpected ending that should leave you giggling inside.


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