04 September 2009

The Guatemalan Handshake.

I want to call it an indie comedy filmed as an art film to the pitch of a Harmony Korine film with shades of David Gordon Green, but I don't know what that means and it sounds like I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't know what I'm talking about. Maybe I'm throwing in Green because The Guatemalan Handshake dvd comes with a essay by him, and he gushes over the film and says something like it evokes the sadness behind a fart joke.

The film is a bizarre mixture of a lot of emotions and characters and scenarios. It's tender and sometimes hilarious and oddly daring. And it juggles these things often within a single scene. It has some creeping motifs and some creepy scenes. It's unique and untidy: just the way I like my films.

I want to watch it again and let my thoughts grow. I watched it as a double with The Brown Bunny and together they reminded me of the many things that are often smoothed over when films are made. The filmic barrier that exists between most cinema and the actual breathing world. You can tell right away when a film itself is going to breathe.

Do many contemporary screenwriters, following QT's lead, attempt to eradicate all 'bad lines'? While I was writing today I wondered if I should erase a bad line I had written that I thought was really truthful but wouldn't make good dialogue. Would a line that was completely honest and revealing and contextually appropriate be a bad line? No. That's a horrible way to think of a script. It's the same as the idea that a character has to be sympathetic.

There were two or three characters in The Guatemalan Handshake that probably should have been left out in a conventional sense, who if had actually been left out wouldn't have allowed the film to work the way it did. That's important to me. It's important to me that filmmakers make those personal decisions and it's important to me that I can be reminded that it can work. I think Todd Rohal in time, given the opportunity, could become an absolutely amazing filmmaker. All the evidence is in The Guatemalan Handshake.

This is a quote from David Lowery's blog that I think he himself transcribed from the Japanese Brown Bunny commentary that he himself ended a blog posting with a little while ago and I dragged up to use myself:

"What, what exactly do I get out of making these films? I mean, I don't make any money, I give up three years of my life on each one, I make a lot of enemies because I'm bossy and pushy and crotchety, and I get old and crabby and my back and my neck and everything hurts now, and I didn't go on any dates. What do I get, this weird satisfaction that I was able to put something in the world that now exists that most people don't like anyway? I don't know, this is just a sick in the head move. But at the time it seemed like the most important thing."

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