Dear Film Friends,
This month's cinematic mystery is: "What allows for a great and truthful performance by a child?" I recognize that it is not an easy question to answer, beyond "I know one when I see one." The good news is I know you will see one when you come next Tuesday to see The Zellner Bros. KID-THING at "Indie Night" -- the monthly screening series I curate at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center. Sydney Aguirre delivers an incredibly cool, intense, and outright miraculous performance as Annie, the kid at the center of this "thing".
I have been a firm devotee that great performances by children have more to do with the director and the adult actors than the kids themselves, but in this Zellner Bros. "thing", it is one and the same.
What's it all about you ask? Well, there's not much going on in the rural area where Annie lives. One day she finds something somewhat remarkable. But even still, that doesn't change much of Annie's life. She's still the same old wild child running wild; small scale store heists, paint gun ambushes, random car assaults, baseball bat sudden attack cake smashes, prank phone calls, and a wonderful Baldiseri-esque use of stickers on passed out drunks. I am sure it's a lot like your childhood...
Kid-Thing may be the tale of a young girl's search for a moral compass, or it may be the character study of a future sociopath. By her discovery, Annie is given a choice, or a test. Can anything stir her from her growing lack of compassion? That question may remain, but our compassion for her is never at question.
The Zellner Bros. don't tackle these problems in the usual ways; you feel (thankfully) that they are artists in search of a cinema of their own. Their method is both naturalistic and simultaneously absurd. They achieve the Dadaists mandate to "make strange," but do so in a way that on first impression might feel casual -- but clearly comes from well schooled eyes. Their unique sense of humor plays against and with the drama, approximating a life that is true, spontaneous, and never schematic.
Taking us to new places, unique landscapes and odd situations, they never lose sight of the end goal of making us feel moved. The Zellners don't set out to prove what they know; they are taking risks here, and it pays off. They make discoveries by not following conventions, and a new truth emerges. Not many movies will ever be able to share the claim that they mix a caldron of memorable scenes involving demolition derbies, guitar playing dwarves, dead cows, and what may well be a devil down in the well -- all without it all being silly. Did I say all? Well, it wouldn't be a Zellner Brothers film if it wasn't silly somewhere.
We could not put on this series of the best of undistributed and artist distributed narrative features without the generous support of our sponsors Fandor and RBC (The Royal Bank Of Canada).
Order tickets: www.filmlinc.com/films/on-sale/kid-thing
Like KID-THING on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/KID-THING/191535430930013
Check out the website: www.kid-thing.com
You can see another collaboration between the Zellners & Aguirre on this music video here: www.vimeo.com/7201463
See you Tuesday July 17th at 8:00 PM at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Q&A after the film with the filmmakers!
Tuesday, July 17
Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center
144 W. 65TH St
New York, NY 10023
Please mark your calendars for upcoming Indie Night screenings:
Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 8 PM: FRANCINE
Wednesday, September 5, 2012, 8 PM
Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 8 PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 8 PM
Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 8 PM
Most sincerely, and forever hopeful about film,