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This is the story of an extremely obese, rather immature, yet very bright and talented young man, and of his world and the people in it... mostly homeless young adults... who refer to their lives and where they live as their individual "planets," and everyone else as "refugees." But there are problems in his world, where a talent for the piano has been reduced to playing Chopin on a piano that has had the strings cut by his mother out of frustration at his incessant practicing... the same mother who now requires him to be there to administer her insulin shots. Still, because he is a 'good boy', he plays on the soundless piano, and takes weekly lessons from a piano teacher so eccentric that she will only allow him to strum out the notes on her dining room table... until, like real planets when other bodies get too close, he finds himself pulled and moved in a different direction. Written by
BOB STEBBINS <email@example.com>
The Planet of Junior Brown is an overlooked gem of a film. I've seen it three times now, and each time it gets better, the sign of a rich cinematic experience.
The first time I saw the film, I was jarred a little by its tone; the meshing of realism and an alternative "reality" of dreams threw me off. On my second viewing of the film, I recognized this "reality" as mytho-poetic, and also recognized myself in the relationship of Junior and his mother, though we are from different cultures, countries, "races" and backgrounds. There is a universality in this movie that comes across nicely due to the mytho-poetic quality of director Clement Virgo's art. It's a quite beautiful and moving little gem of a film, though it is suffused with melancholy due to a certain ambiguity in the ending. (Is Junior imagining what transpires in the final scene; is it a dream? Is Junior delusional? Has he slipped the bonds of his harsh reality and retreated into some secret place inside his head?)
Films are all about dreams, and I didn't really understand or love THE PLANET OF JUNIOR BROWN until I realized that it was created from the stuff of dreams, putting it firmly in the realm of the mytho-poetic.
Watch this film, not once, but twice or more. You will be rewarded.
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