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At the annual Vent Haven Convention in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky, ventriloquism capital of the world, director Mark Goffman discovers five extraordinary characters straight out of a Christopher Guest mockumentary. But in this delightful, it's-all-true documentary, the characters are real, and so are the emotional attachments that they have with their "dummies."Written by
Palm Springs International Film Festival
This flick chronicles the lives of a group of puppeteers leading up to their attendance of a ventriloquist's convention in Kentucky. The event is barely mentioned throughout the course of the film, however, and when it arrives, it seems merely to have been tacked on as a footnote to the narrative. The only relevance of the convention to the rest of the movie is the impact impersonator/ventriloquist Terry Fator's sudden fame had on the world of ventriloquism and the hopefuls who inhabit it.
Without a high-stakes climax to converge on, the thrust of the film relies on the day-to-day grind and gradual reveals of the embattled souls who shoulder the burden of being ventriloquists. The five subjects have varying degrees of success, and suffer fallouts in one way or another from their family and social circles in pursuit of their careers. It becomes immediately clear that for these performers, it's an uphill fight for respect.
I was particularly engaged by the 13 year old boy's story, and his struggles to remain self-assured as his father's rejection of his hobby slowly chips away at his confidence.
I also came to appreciate how difficult it is to create the jokes, the act, and different voices of their characters while also being technically proficient in their dummy's manipulation.
Overall highly recommended, and deserving of a much higher rating than it's current one.
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