Frownland (Ronald Bronstein, 2008)

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tugboat5555
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Frownland (Ronald Bronstein, 2008)

#1 Post by tugboat5555 » Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:25 pm

Just wondering if anybody else caught this in its one week run at IFC. I thought it was a gritty, uncomfortable, almost intentionally flawed and at times magnificent film. The whole screaming match/bar scene/sunrise ending was really wonderful.

If anything, this is an important response to the current state of the "indie" film (much like, but different from Bujalski and Katz) and I would love to see more in the same vein.

Anybody?

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rumz
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#2 Post by rumz » Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:16 am

I caught this at its sxsw debut last year, and although I didn't exactly like it, it's quite effective -- the sunrise ending is indeed magnificent.

This is an illuminating interview with its director, Ronnie Bronstein, even if you haven't seen the film.

montgomery
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:02 pm
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#3 Post by montgomery » Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:53 am

I liked it, and it was worth watching if only because it's so rare to see a film like this these days. Not a surprise, because there were only 2 other people in the theater.

Macintosh
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:38 am
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#4 Post by Macintosh » Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:23 pm

I managed to catch it, and loved it was well. Refreshing to see such an uncompromising film centered around such a dislikable character these days. Probably the perfect anthisis to this year's Juno, meaning it pulls no punches. At times the film reminded me of Paul Morrissey and some early Mike Leigh.

greaserspalace
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:59 am

#5 Post by greaserspalace » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:17 am

I saw Frownland at a packed screening at the Museum of Modern Art last fall and jesus christ it cracked me in half. A brutal, black, scathingly funny, totally original work of art as well as a rally cry against the commercial dreck that passes for independent cinema these days. And i think it's a pretty thin response to simply call the main character "unlikeable". I mean the whole point of the movie is to confront viewers with their own instinctive intolerance for weakness, no? The main character is horribly impotent, sure, to the point of being infuriating. And yet he resonates like a saint. A Bresson character in a Romero universe. Au Hazard, Frankenstein! Ha ha! The director was in attendance that night and he spoke about how violence had erupted after one festival screening of the work. When was the last time something like THAT happened?

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miless
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:45 pm

#6 Post by miless » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:58 pm

after the premier of You Got Served, apparently dozens of youth began fighting outside the theater after an impromptu 'dance-off' left each side convinced they were victorious.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:24 pm
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#7 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:06 am

More than 100 fight in mall movie theater

The article unforgivably leaves out the name of the movie in question.

greaserspalace
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:59 am

#8 Post by greaserspalace » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:30 am

Of course, the relevance of any post-screening riot comes down to whether the ideas in the film itself acted as the catalyst. I was just searching through the web looking for some more Frownland info and found this, written by the head programmer of the Austin Film Society:

"I used to laugh smugly at the ridiculous idea that the audience present at the 1913 premiere of the ballet “The Rite of Spring” were so upset by Stravinsky’s ground-breaking music and Nijinsky’s style-shattering dance that they screamed at the orchestra, dancers, and composer and were at the very edge of rioting. Then last night I saw FROWNLAND (Ronald Bronstein, 2007), the final presentation of Cinematexas. For the first five minutes I was laughing at the painfully inarticulate protagonist Keith. Then I felt sorry for him for another five minutes. But fifteen minutes into the film I wanted him dead. I kept wishing other characters would “hurt him bad.” His pathological inability to express himself –open-mouthed stuttering, incoherent gesticulating, repulsive fidgeting – reduced me to a tense, nervous, maniacal wreck. The film is brilliant, the acting is letter perfect, the direction is masterful and I hated it all. My liver shot streams of bile into my mouth and I was on the verge of spitting vitriol onto the screen. I honestly thought I was going to explode before the movie ended, and yet I couldn’t leave because I needed to see Keith be murdered in a hundred horrible ways."

Ha! Personally, i felt nothing but deep heartbreaking sympathy for the character by the end of the movie. But it's rare and encouraging to see a film roil up this kind of intense visceral reaction in this day and age. It's what i hope for when going to the movies.

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Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
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#9 Post by Lemmy Caution » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:00 pm

From that last description this film sounds along the lines of Lodge Kerrigan, or is that off base?

Also, the title puts me in mind of the Capt. Beefheart song, but I assume that it has no connection.

In any case this film sounds intriguing.
Though the Dvd is likely to take a while.

greaserspalace
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:59 am

#10 Post by greaserspalace » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:06 pm

It's funny you say that cause Lodge Kerrigan introduced Frownland at the screening i attended. The movie definitely has the schizo intensity of a Kerrigan movie but with alot more black humor integrated into the bleakness and the angst.

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miless
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:45 pm

#11 Post by miless » Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:38 pm

yeah, the moments that often could be portrayed as humorous in a Kerrigan film are often the most heart-breaking and painful scenes (I'm thinking of the moment in Keane where he's singing in the bar).

I have to say that I'm really intrigued by this film (Frownland), I really hope I have the chance to see it sometime.

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