In Paris, a young American who works as a Michael Jackson lookalike meets Marilyn Monroe, who invites him to her commune in Scotland, where she lives with Charlie Chaplin and her daughter, Shirley Temple.
A series of hazy 8mm vignettes, accompanied by a soft, lilting voice over, in which girls skulk around schoolyards, spray graffiti, drink, smoke, pose and embrace, evoking the loneliness, confusion and overwhelming wonder of growing up.
Instead of adhering to the norms of their South Central neighborhood, a group of skater boys opt to bus into Hollywood and Beverly Hills, where they attract local rich girls - and plenty of... See full summary »
"O, mio babbino caro" plays as a woman skates gracefully. In contrast, little is graceful and daddy is not dear in Julien's world. His father listens to blues wearing a gas mask; dad prods, lectures, and derides Julien as well as Julien's brother and pregnant sister, while grandma attends to her dog. Julien is different, schizophrenic. He wears gold teeth. He bowls, sings, worships, and chats with a group of young adults with disabilities. His sister's child is probably his own. He talks on the phone, imagining it's his mother, who died in childbirth years before. He may be a murderer of children. From his point of view (perhaps), the film follows this odd family for a few weeks. Written by
I will say that this film is Art at the risk of having raw vegetables thrown at me. It is not "a movie", as in "Hey, Mary, let's go down to the multiplex and catch Julien Donkey-Boy." No. I have the mixed pleasure of understanding this film's subject matter as a clinician. The film conveyed, in my educated opinion, a sensual experience of being very close to the dysfunction it displays. What may seem like unsophisticated art school techniques with sound and image to the casual viewer rang absolutely affectively true to me, as a person who has worked in locked units of state mental hospitals with these families. As entertainment, the film is terrible, as it should be. I would not advise buying an extra large popcorn. It is disturbing and enlightening. Whether or not it belongs in a theater, museum or a classroom is probably debatable. Werner Herzog was brilliant. Ewen Bremner blew me away. Bremner's acting range is amazing. I look forward to seeing him some day in a "regular guy" role.
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