February 7, 2004

The $218 Film. The LA Times reports from the Sundance Film Festival:
The fire this time was ignited by a documentary called Tarnation from 31-year-old cineaste in extremis Jonathan Caouette, who’s been filming his gruelingly intimate autobiography for more than 20 years (go on, do the arithmetic). And, oh yeah, he made his film for all of $218 (plus change) and edited it entirely in iMovie. It’s a fever dream of sorts (think Arthur Rimbaud, whom the filmmaker resembles in spirit) about the very painful, bizarre and most of all sentient life that produced the film. ... It’s the chronicle of a monumentally dysfunctional family, as if one of the Friedman kids (as in Capturing the . . .) had been preternaturally talented, arrived at a healthy perspective on everything he and his family went through — and then turned the whole thing into a musical.
(Sentient?)

I love the idea that cheap technology is removing the barriers to filmmaking, so that the artform becomes as accessible as novel-writing. I'm hoping this will mean more films based on great stories. In the case of "Tarnation," though, the great story seems to be a horrible life. Ah, the sadness underneath art!

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