Thursday, May 5, 2016


I did it. I honestly did not imagine a world where I was done with this movie. I will definitely still have stress dreams about it. I'm gonna finish a keg. Thank you Car Seat Headrest for possibly giving me permission to use your music. My composer ghosted me. F the haters. Peace out.

Staying Relevant

Now that the semester is wrapping up, it is time to start thinking about where we want to go from here with our documentary. We already know that we are going to have a composer do some work for the film before we start to submit it places. We definitely want to submit it to festivals, but my dad also just met someone who does some work with documentary distribution and wants to see our film. At the beginning of the semester we had considered looking into getting in contact with a distributor so we could screen the film at different colleges around the country so students could be informed about issues relating to the refugee crisis before they vote in November, but we kind of forgot about that until now. However, I think that could be a really good idea.

As of yesterday, one thing became extremely obvious: our documentary is not going to lose its relevance anytime soon. Now that Kasich and Cruz are out of the election, it's going to be all Trump all the time. While this news is extremely unsettling, it also makes it more important than ever that our documentary is seen by as many people as possible.

One of the feedbacks that we got on our documentary was that we should have shown more people who aren't Trump supporters that are opposed to refugees. While I think that would have been beneficial,  I also think that for a long time, we all assumed that Trump supporters were just crazy people. However, it's become more and more obvious that all different types of people support Trump. More people are backing him than ever expected, which means his views are actually the views of a lot more people in this country than most people would have thought.

After spending time getting to know the refugee community in Buffalo, I refuse to imagine a country where he is in charge. His ideas, and the ideas of his supporters, are filled with such hate toward people who deserve nothing but love. Now that it's inevitable that we'll be seeing him around until November, I hope our documentary can persuade at least a few people that voting for him is not a good idea.

Me and "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl"

I don't know why it's taken me so long to watch this film. I think I kept confusing it with Lars and the Real Girl and therefore assumed I'd already caught part of it on TV once and felt bored. Or because no one has explicitly recommended it to me. Regardless, I regret the past 15 months I let this breath of fresh film air breeze right by me.

I'm not going to talk about the plot because it's going to sound off-puttingly like that of The Fault in Our Stars. Yes, it's about a girl dying of cancer, but the beauty lies in the visual storytelling. The film features claymation, 90 degree camera rotation, and a whole bunch of fake mini movies within the movie (e.g. Jurassic Skate Park, Rosemary Baby Carrots, A Sockwork Orange) to illuminate Greg's quirks. Here is one of those cheesy YouTube film analyses about the cinematography:

I found it funny and sad, beautiful both in visual and aural composition. It is rooted in classic filmmaking (i.e. fully aware of and in homage to "the greats") but marked by unconventional--or at least rarely utilized, especially in teen coming-of-age films--techniques. I recommend it to all, after this hell week of Thesis is done.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Green Room

As I mentioned in last week's post, I went to see Jeremy Saulnier's newest film, Green Room at Cinemapolis. I've been a fan of Saulnier since I saw his previous film Blue Ruin. Blue Ruin was a slow burn revenge flick that was both beautiful and brutal. You can check out the trailer right here.

Based off of Blue Ruin I knew that this film would be intense, but holy shit, was it brutal. The movie follows a punk band called the Ain't Rights who do a gig at a skinhead bar where they witness a horrific act and find themselves trapped in the bar, fighting for their lives.  Check out the trailer here.

Never before has a movie both enthralled me and made me very uncomfortable. The film is graphically violent, but the violence isn't your typical over-the-top action movie violence, it's not played for laughs as it might be for a Tarantino film. The violence is brutal and realistic. There is an arm breaking scene early on in the movie that head let out an audible yelp in the theatre. Hands are mangled, throats are slashed, throats are ripped out by dogs, As the film progresses we become more and more uncomfortable with what we're seeing on screen.
Where I give the film so much credit is that it manages to have authentic characters who stand out, something that doesn't tend to happen in films of this sort. Each member of the band has a distinct persona that we see develop through the situation they find themselves trapped in.
Those expecting a non-stop action film may be somewhat disappointed as the film takes its time, slowly building up to the horrific acts that will take place. Even after Green Room explodes into a violent chaotic cacophony, it still crawls along, slowly feeding us the violence, keeping us in a constant state of unease. We are trapped, just like our protagonists.

The film is playing at Cinemapolis and I highly recommend you see this brutal and brilliant film that will stick with you long after you leave the theatre.