4th Day at SF IndieFest 2013: “The Legend of Kaspar Hauser” and “I Declare War”

The Legend of Kaspar Hauser

three-stars15After a very informative explanation by one of the festival’s programmers about who the real Kaspar Hauser was, and the many different takes of him that have been told throughout the years, it was time for me to watch Davide Manuli‘s take on the legend – and what a take it was.

Spasmatic interpretative dancing, senseless mule rides, spontaneous upchuckings of milk, two hammed-up performances by Vincent Gallo as both disco Sheriff and Pusher-man, and a techno driven score.  With all these elements firmly in tact I walked away from this movie feeling a sense of amusement.  Whether this sense came from the visceral joys of the overall bizarreness being projected my way, or whether it came from feeling truly lost in a playful film that never takes itself seriously, one things for sure, I left the theatre with a smile on my face.

For those of you who prefer their movies to have more of the commonly used narrative structure so often found in almost every film within the Hollywood machine, this movie will probably not be for you.  But if you’re into “artsy” (God, I hate the use of that word to describe a genre, but I feel you get my point here) or just something different and want to have a wholesome organic smile put upon your face than I insist you at least give this movie a try.

I Declare War

Warrthree-stars15As a kid I loved playing war, which is why this movie about just that appealed to me as much as it did.

The story here is about a group of kids who meet up after school to play a game of War – or Capture The Flag, if you will – and the drama that will inevitably arise when strong pre-adolescent personalities get together to play any sort of organized game.  Though the kids play with toy guns, paint balloons, and sticks, we see these weapons as the kids do.  They are presented as real semi-automatic machine guns, hand grenades and rocket launchers.

I must admit I had a hard time getting over the nostalgic factor that was at play here, which is why I was able to overlook certain elements that I normally wouldn’t.  Not often does a high concept movie such as this trump a cast of terrible actors (kids or not), and an equally terrible and noticeably distracting score.

All in all, Day 4 was a pretty weird movie-going experience.  I have come to expect nothing less from my beloved little IndieFest.  Until tomorrow…

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