‘Punk Syndrome’ and André Gregory at the Carlton this week
Editor`s note: This marks the debut of new contributor to the site David Edwards. Hope you guys like his insight and opinion as he continues to help us out at the FIX. Welcome aboard David!
This week at the Carlton (Dec 13th-19th 2013)
The Punk Syndrome is a cinéma vérité style documentary that follows a punk rock band from Finland made up of four men with mental disabilities and the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into the process of creating music.
The Punk Syndrome is a funny, charming, and extremely candid look into the backstage life of four people who have had to overcome obstacles their whole lives and the way they manage to express their frustrations to the world. Directors Jukka Karkkainen and J-P Passi use a “fly on the wall” approach to capture the raw emotion of each band member’s individual struggle outside of music as well as the obstacles they face as a band. Some of the film’s strongest moments are when the focus is shifted to the backstories of the band members, exploring topics such as living alone, committing to romantic relationships, and being politically active. The film often takes a deep and personal look into the lives of each person as they go from obscurity to a punk rock phenomenon, from touring around Europe to recording their debut album.
The Punk Syndrome succeeds in creating an emotional attachment to the band and will leave viewers wanting to see them flourish and above all else, reach their goals of just being heard. The film embodies the true spirit of punk rock with a no-holds barred momentum that doesn’t let up until the last emotional frame, and leaves you with the sense that you are just as much a part of the journey as the band themselves. (David Edwards)
Andre Gregory: Before And After Dinner
The name Andre Gregory will often ring a bell in the minds of cinema goers as the writer and star of independent classic, My Dinner With Andre. The film is often regarded as a staple of indie filmmaking and brought Andre Gregory’s name to fame as a writer and actor, having roles in films like Demolition Man and The Last Temptation of Christ. Director Cindy Kleine, who is Gregory’s spouse, chronicles the history of her husband while at the same time examining his present as he goes into production of a play starring lifelong friend and co-star Wallace Shawn. The film takes a close look at the life of Andre Gregory by digging deeply into his past and examining his relationships with friends, family, and teachers.
Though the movie is a factually rich and in-depth account, it struggles with keeping a steady pace and often feels disjointed and messy. The narration by Kleine is poorly conceived as it often takes over the scene just as things are about to get interesting. The strongest aspects of the film come in the form of the personal accounts of Gregory himself and his on-screen interactions with the people that surround him daily, particularly his relationship with Wallace Shawn. These are the moments that feel the most real and genuine, capturing the essence of who Andre Gregory really is. Fans of My Dinner With Andre may be disappointed to find out that the film is not touched on too heavily throughout the documentary, but that the on-screen chemistry of both Gregory and Shawn is very real and still present to this day. But Kleine steers the main focus of documentary to Andre Gregory’s stage productions, going as far as to collect video footage of some of his oldest productions.
The film started to pick up towards its conclusion which left me feeling like there was a lot more intriguing stories left to tell. Andre Gregory: Before And After Dinner is overall an interesting documentary that suffers from a few flaws. The films short comings are forgivable and can be overlooked as the subject matter is often entertaining and speaks for itself when not being spoon-fed to the audience by its narration. (David Edwards)
Till Next Time
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