|Index||4 reviews in total|
Transvestites, geek men biting off chicken heads, classy blues
musicians, and crazed men with guns form the backbone of this
delightful documentary look at the "Southern Hipsters" of louisiana and
the film does not judge its motley crew of vivid characters, thus allowing the "cast" to openly reveal themselves on screen. the southern brand of 70s hipsters seem oddly drugged out as they bellow to the camera and preen their wares for all to see. interestingly, eggleston's choice of a primitive sony camcorder lends an odd glow to the images on screen, thus creating a surrealistic feel to the entire piece.
while the film is naturally a bit slow at points, the ending makes up for it all: a drunken drugged out pimp w/ his pistol plays Russian roulette while bizarre noise rock drones from a guitar somewhere in the background.
Cinematographer Eggleston is even better known as a world famous still color photographer. I found my way to this via my passion for Memphis music (Alex Chilton) and well, this film is Cinema Verite at its best. Intuitive filming of "white trash" from the early 70's - this is true Americana. As the saying goes... "you Can't Make This Sfuff Up." In Addition to the crazed alchoholics and jackasses there are also gentle moments such as the opening footage of children licking raindrops with the sound of locomotices and birdsongs in the background. A secret little classic that will become even more legendary over time. Trust moi.
"Stranded in Canton" had its Canadian premiere at the Toronto
International Film Festival on Sept. 14, 2005 in a paired screening
with Michael Almereyda's new documentary "William Eggleston in the Real
World". There may have been several other previous screenings but the
only other one that I easily found on the internet was when it opened
the 6th annual Memphis International Film Festival on April 21, 2005.
Eggleston filmed about 30 hours of footage in the years 1973-74 and this has been recently edited down to 76 minutes for this final production which Eggleston said was now finished. Director Robert Gordon and film editor John Olivio assisted Eggleston with this final distillation and Eggleston himself provides an occasional commentary right in the film itself as shown. Perhaps the eventual DVD release will have a more complete commentary, but with the laconic Eggleston, this might very well be it. The little that Eggleston said was usually humorous and gave some comic relief.
The film left me feeling nostalgic for various hell-raising drunken friends from my own youth because the vibe here was as if William Eggleston had traveled back in time to secretly film these people in the early seventies. Most of them seem quite oblivious to the camera and with the infra-red lens some of this may have been filmed almost in pitch darkness so people were even more likely to act uninhibited. The video technology itself was so new that many may not have even understood that a movie camera was in fact being used. Eggleston films various colorful family friends and sometimes strangers in bars and on the streets. One interesting historical note is the informal performance footage of Memphis based blues guitarist/musician Furry Lewis (1899-1981) performing at a private house party (Lewis is the musician name-checked in the Joni Mitchell song "Furry Sings The Blues" on the 1976 Hejira album).
A word of warning for those with modern day PETA sympathies: one scene here captures the old-time carnival act of geeking chickens, although it is filmed at a night time street scene. In the days before such TV shows as Fear Factor, you could go to carnivals/circuses where a low-ranked performer would perform acts such as biting the heads of chickens or snakes or eating worms whole etc. for the entertainment of the paying crowds. The low-brow level of this "entertainment" caused the other carnies to disassociate themselves from the "geeks" or "geek men" which has gradually led to the word's modern day connotation of socially inept individuals.
Yer, you can't be serious, this is the biggest load of crap I have ever scene on the big screen. The film is just one long mess from start to finish, the film maker must have been making some kind of in joke, but its all lost on me. If you want to bore yourself stupid, take a look at this, and then go and get a real life. Making use of video technology to produce this is one step too far into the new. I was so glad when it was all over, only a few people walked out, I remained, but wish I buggered off a got myself a big, big, McMac. Crap at its best. If thats what you want. The end credits was the only interesting point to this otherwise pointless piece of film making.
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