CENTRAL STANDARD: A MIXED BAG
Watching thursday night's films, I was simultaneously comforted by and disappointed with the low production value. "Oh, that's kinda crappy... but hey, I
can do this!" It's a lot easier to get away with low production value in documentary because you're there to learn, not to see a sweeping panoramic crane shot bursting with technicolor. It's much more difficult all-around to make a convincing and enjoyable narrative film. You need good writing and believable actors, it needs to look nice and resolve somehow. That's a tall order, and Want
left me wanting.
I applaud it's vision and creativity – it's loaded with culture-jamming fake ads and creepy sex addiction – but it left me feeling thoroughly icky and wondering what the point was. I can't argue with the Variety writeup
though: "Imaginative on a smartly handled low budget." Writer/Director/Editor Michael Wohl was part of the original Final Cut Pro team and authors a book I own, Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro
which is is chock full of Want
The Invisible Powers
program was quite good, particulartly Subvertisers
and Supermax Wisconsin
. I think a much better film can be made on the culture jam movement, but until then Subvertisers
will do just fine. To their credit, they don't restrict themselves to interviewing artists and activists. They talk to a Clear Channel exec who says, "Here's my phone, here's my email - nobody is calling me asking to use our billboards." He argues that culture jammers are vandals, and that Clear Channel donates a certain percentage of billboard space to nonprofit organizations. San Francisco's Billboard Liberation Front
isn't buying it (heh). They say their billboard liberations are easily removable, and they leave a bottle of scotch for the Clear Channel workers who remove them. I'm not 100% with the culture jammers, but I think we need their voice. We need to question the corporate advertising and media assault we are numbed to everyday. We need antidotes
, apparently produced by a bunch of UW-Madison students, looks at the evils of high-security solitary confinement and the prison system in general. At first I was unsympathetic to the film's cause: so they put some prisoners in a white room with a toilet and a concrete bed. It's prison
fer chrissake! I was more compelled by the deeper problems with the prison system in general - the prison business, politicans' cheap "tough on crime" stances, the culture of punishment vs. rehabilitation. Nevertheless, it was very skewed and presented no hard evidence or opposing viewpoints. Technically well-produced, and certainly worth a look if it comes to your town.