this movie is quite a trip and I've just finished watching all the extras and was a little disturbed at the director's speech at the rotterdam film festival in which he seemed to regard the "reinactors" as some sort of pestilence when without them, who however abjectly (hoping this is a big break of some sort) and with such varying degrees of grace, gave this clown of a director a wonderful and rich tapestry of stories out of which he was able to fashion an undeniably moving film in spite of the not anywhere near ready for prime time combination of skills or talent were evidently brought to the picnic by the director of this thing himself. Then again, though, he was right there, smelling them, as he pointed out. About that, it seems to me that it should not be that shocking to discover that these people sweat working in LA in their often rubberized head to toe ensembles. Part of a singularly affecting element of this movie is that the audience has this actually rather vainglorious desire for the people depicted to turn out to be "ok" somehow, in such a way that you can say, "see we're all in the same boat" or whatever... But it's not so simple with these people who for the most part seem to be . . pretty challenged in various ways and quite often not ... up to the challenges, so much. And yet... what we really are shown is a little panorama, within which there is an entire range of . . .fuctionality being displayed on behalf of these human beings. My feeling is that ... when things are just not going so badly for some of these people that it's impossible not to just wish them some big changes in their attitudes and in their lives... that it's only by overlooking various ways in which your in fact more normal joe's janes and selves might be ridiculous that it's a sure thing that the subjects of this film are so handily to be looked down upon, for tragically wasting their lives or whatever you want to call it, breaking their dreams on the boulevard. But then... the director is also speaking of people who didn't make it into the film I suppose, in . .. dwelling on his horror that tourists trust these costumed characters too much, that in fact they could be dangerous in some way. And it's mentioned in the film that from time to time, some of them are thieves working this deal. But the director, instead of saying something a long the lines of "there but for the grace of god go I" instead opens his mouth to say things like, "the only way they can keep it under control is to arrest some of these people from time to time"! Disappointing, that.
And actually, in the beginning of the film we meet some people who appear to have a pretty good grip on reality, actually, who are doing this little gig and have no illusions about it and just are into it for exactly what it is. Eventually the film forgets about those individuals and lumps everyone together as maybe a silly millimeter short of being mentally ill.
Anyway in spite of some major flaws and troubling elements of the whole conception and point of view of the whole thing what came out of the process is a film very well worth seeing, and I recommend watching all the extras too. And I mean, this filmmaker isn't hopeless by any means. I quite liked his poetic little finale to it with the band on the street playing "hotel California" in a music video-ish finish.
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