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Faces on Mars (2003)
What Cinema should be
If you like films like Withnail and I and television shows such as The Young Ones, you will simply adore this gem from the director of past Sundance hit Little Noises.
A mixture of Brecht, British Social Realism and Reality TV - this low budget indie digital film, dark comedy depicts the true underbelly of "artists as struggling workers" in Los Angeles (or rather in a city on the outskirts of Tinsel Town) - all competing and conspiring against one another in a society geared toward unbridled individualism and self-promotion.
Two Brits on the run from the INS in Los Angeles find themselves hiding out in an apartment inhabited by struggling actors - all of whom are taking advantage of a rich man with a trust fund who owns the apartment and wants to create an experimental/egalitarian habitat.
What ensues is a hilarious examination of human behavior and the excesses of the pursuit of self-interest at the expense of solidarity.
Moreover, Director Jane Spencer is highly successful on giving the film some depth through psychological side stories for our main characters. Everyone has a wound - everyone is trying to resolve it in some way. Everyone needs love and attention - but can't find it in a society where everything is for sale.
The cinematography is functional and serves the chaotic purpose of the narrative.
This director should make more movies - as substance of storytelling and political focus is sorely lacking in todays hyper stylized monstrosities masquerading as cinema.