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April 18th, 2014 § Leave a Comment

Now, I suffer from the same deep down Freudian affliction as most other men: castration anxiety. I was worried that this film would put way worse of a tingle in my dingle than it did do. The movie spends far less time actually dealing with detached genitals than you (and I) might have thought; it is instead about something all men can relate to: legacy.

The film’s three main characters make for some interesting drama: 1) Siggi, the curator of the penis museum and seeker of the titular FINAL MEMBER, 2) Pall, legendary Icelandic womanizer and the first to pledge donation, and 3) Tom, well-endowed American exhibitionist with plans to donate while still alive. Even though the documentary was filmed over a multiple year period, the tension of who’s going to the the first specimen (and will the specimen be donated while the elderly Siggi is still alive) is extremely well paced and completely engrossing.

The filmmakers could have easily left the universal themes at the easy phallic metaphors and left it at that, but they have so much human generosity to the subjects of the film. A sympathetic symphony of patriotism, aging, obsession, and manhood. Funny, but never at the expense of its subjects.

This is the least subtle imagery in the film. I promise it doesn't get into the immature weeds.

This is the least subtle imagery in the film. I promise it doesn’t get into the immature weeds.

A tip of the hat yet again to our friends at Drafthouse for releasing another instant classic.

—made it through without quease or dis-ease, dan

It’s been a month

April 11th, 2014 § Leave a Comment

since I graced this blog with my musings on the splendiferous programming of the Grand Illusion. Sorry it took so long, but maybe you haven’t even felt my absence. I’ve been putting in 60 hour work weeks and had to get out of town the last few weekends, so that’s my excuse. That, and I’ve been feeling a little creatively dry.

However, I had to jump on here to talk to you about MISTAKEN FOR STRANGERS. I had the pleasure of repping this film for SIFF 2013, and the even greater pleasure of meeting director and star of this meta rock doc, Tom Berninger. Berninger is the brother of the frontman of The National, Matt Berninger.

This film has appeal on multiple levels. Will you see lots of behind the scenes action of one the the biggest indie bands in the world? Yes, and I know that’s the appeal for most of the people who would rush out to see this film. But for me, the two biggest appeals were unexpected and that’s what I want to share with you.

Appeal one: The National is made up of two pairs of brothers, plus Matt Berninger. Tom Berninger, Matt’s brother and the director and true star of the film, is the perfect foil to Matt. Tom is into heavy metal music, not the indie rock nonsense his brother creates. Matt is the older brother who has the career and has it together, while Tom wants to be a filmmaker and has only made one feature that looks like a Roger Corman movie. The brotherly drama fuels the movie perfectly and works as a movie about brothers about a band of brothers. Layers!

Can you guess which is Matt and which is Tom?

Can you guess which is Matt and which is Tom?

Appeal two: Speaking of layers, after Tom gets done filming The National’s international tour for 2010’s High Violet, he moves in to Matt’s apartment in Brooklyn and attempts to try to find what the story of his movie. That’s where the film veers out of the standard tour documentary/band profile arena and becomes something entirely different.

I don’t want to give too much more away. Suffice it to say, though we show many music docs here at the GI, this is one that is truly unique and eschews traditional music doc structure.

It’s great! See it!

Also, we’ve got a few films on 35mm by a little unknown director named Orson Welles, but you don’t need me to tell you to see ’em. 😉

—back in the saddle, dan

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