More films from #Slamdance2024

Time to catch up with my adventures at Slamdance Film Festival.

Brando with a Glass Eye (directed by Antonis Tsonis). In Athens, Luca, a would-be method actor, has been accepted into an acting program in New York. But to finance that trip he and a friend pull a heist. When things go bad, a bystander is shot. Luca goes to the hospital to kill the injured man in case he can identify him. Instead, he forms a friendship with the man, never mentioning his part in the crime.

Luca is constantly acting some kind of role—even his new friendship is based in fiction. Through those roles, Luca is constantly working through his guilt as he seeks to also find his way to America and the opportunity it will offer him.

Anna’s Feelings (directed by Anna Melikyan). In the midst of a pandemic that is threating to end all life on earth, there are plans for a colony to be started on Mars. Anna works in a chocolate factory, but one day she begins to get “feelings” that may be messages from aliens that are meant to speak to Earth. She becomes a celebrity, but also the target of jealous co-workers. Is Anna a prophet with a message that can save the world?

This makes for an interesting look at how we react to people who bring such messages to us. When their words become true, do we begin to pay attention? The message that Anna brings seems fairly innocuous: “Love each other”. Yet, it becomes increasingly evident that such a message is hard to obey. Note how long the world has struggled to live up to Jesus telling us the same thing.

Slide (directed by Bill Plympton). This animated film is your basic “a stranger comes to town” western. A mysterious cowboy shows up in a corrupt town armed only with his slide guitar. The mayor and his evil twin, see dollar signs when Hollywood wants to make a movie there. The cowboy and his music become the foil to the evil powers that be before he heads off into the sunset.

I’ve seen Plympton’ s animation in shorts before, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in a feature length film. The sometimes frenetic and surreal storytelling may be easier to deal with in smaller portions.

Love and Work (directed by Pete Ohs). In this mildly dystopian world, work is outlawed. We follow Diane and Fox, two people who love working. They seek out underground factories where people are surreptitiously employed—even though the work is meaningless. As they try to avoid being arrested, they also fall in love. It is a much different look at the joys of work than we are used to. Besides, how can you truly appreciate the weekend if you aren’t working for it?

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