'Festival' is a black comedy set during the annual Edinburgh Fringe festival. The film is based around both the judging of a major comedy award and the performers at one of the smaller ... See full summary »
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What Is It? is a bewildering, unnerving, surreal, blackly comic film from the visionary mind of Crispin Glover that tells the inner and outer struggles of a young man facing villains and demons on multiple planes.
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'Festival' is a black comedy set during the annual Edinburgh Fringe festival. The film is based around both the judging of a major comedy award and the performers at one of the smaller venues. Various plot strands interweave, including the bitter relationship between a famous self-obsessed British comic and his ever-suffering assistant, an actress debuting at the festival with a one-woman show about Dorothy Wordsworth and a depressed, rich housewife who spies on the stoned Canadian theatre troupe to whom she has rented out her house. Written by
If you've seen Altman's 'Nashville', you've kind of seen this. It's just the era and backdrop that are different. Substitute Daniella Nardini for Geraldine Chaplin, Mangan or O'Dowd for Keith Carradine and you have the general idea. Griffin's best-known piece, 'The Book Group', also had multiple plot lines, but had time to develop over two three-hour series. In 'Festival', for instance, the plot line with the crazy Canadians had a fantasy quality to it, but didn't seem to be going anywhere. On the other hand, watching Petra staring at a drink, trying not to fall off the wagon, was heart-wrenching, as was the chat-up scene where she realizes as she talks about her job, that she has no real life apart from Sean, and hateful as he is he is all that stands between her and a return to drinking. That was brilliantly done, as was the young actress falling for Sean because she sees him as nobody else does, because she doesn't know his work or how famous he is. I wanted to like this film a lot more than I eventually did. It is worth seeing, but like so many British movies, it doesn't warrant the big screen treatment when a TV series would have been better.
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