Everything Strange and New

Film
1 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

1 out of 5 stars

Hey, aspiring indie filmmakers, how’s this for an original idea? Why not explore the dissatisfaction of the middle-aged American male? You could focus entirely on a carpenter struggling with parenthood and frustrated with his failing marriage. But rather than dramatize his dilemma—so bourgeois!—just have him wax philosophic in incredibly spot-on terms in voiceover while you track your camera through his thoroughly ordinary-looking home. Over the climactic dialogue—since no one in this movie will talk about much except how miserable they are, the word conversation doesn’t quite apply—spice things up by zooming out a window. During a lot of the narration you can just show exteriors of Oakland. (You’re a cinematographer-turned-director, and it’s a good way to show off how serious you are.) Pretty, but not too pretty. Just like life. But avant-garde.

To make sure your audience doesn’t doze, from time to time show your protagonist talking with other people (characters is too strong a word), and add the occasional burst of minimalist scoring. Like in that Peter Greenaway film! To emphasize the boredom theme, include a couple of shots of your protagonist actually staring into the void. It’ll be a monument to the everydayness of the everyday. Radical, man! Everything about it will be resolutely familiar and amateurish, but—here’s the thing—you’ll make it profound by calling it Everything Strange and New. The debates will never end.

By: Ben Kenigsberg

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