Sunday, April 26, 2009
What happens when someone has so much social anxiety that they cease to function? How alone can one man get? When the mundane crap we have to endure in order to be part of society gets to be too much, what happens? Frownland explores these questions. Its the first film by a guy named Ronald Bronstein, a film projectionist in New York. Definitely a startlingly original debut. The tone is strange and claustrophobic as we get inside the mind of a guy named Keith that is so messed up he can hardly form a proper sentence. We follow him around as he tries to make contact with people and function day to day. Most of us have known people like this- people that say "sorry" too much and have very awkward communication skills. So we know there are people out there like this but why would someone want to make a movie about them? Well, because its interesting and Bronstein and the lead actor, Dore Mann, do an excellent job. This may seem like something difficult to watch, and at times it is, but I found it oddly fascinating. I found myself contemplating the film days afterward. This film is about as un-commercial as a film can get. A few friends filmed it over the course of a few years as they saved money. It was shot on 16mm and the scratched film look is beautifully low budget. With no distributor, this may be a tough one to find, I think it's been screening randomly for the past year or so. Hopefully it'll be on DVD at some point. I saw it at the Silent Movie Theater here in LA. There were 10 people in the audience, among them Crispin Glover, if that tells you anything about how weird this movie is. Highly recommended.