LRFF: 'Slumberland,' Velvet Kente and bikinied girls | Rock Candy

Friday, May 15, 2009

LRFF: 'Slumberland,' Velvet Kente and bikinied girls

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2009 at 10:31 AM

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John Schafer, Rhett Brinkley and Zach Turner.

In our Q&A yesterday, John Schafer was bluntly honest. He said he and his collaborators didn't know what they were doing and made a film that looks like a homemade movie. So, yeah, there's a fair amount of shaky camera work and several stunted or overlong scenes, but within that, there's a strong story, even stronger characters and a lot of smart, almost lyrical camera work.

It's a film a piece with the mumblecore movement — ultra-lo-fi, dialogue heavy, concerned with drifting 20somethings struggling to relate. Much to its credit, "Slumberland" presents the same sort of emotionally honest characters that you find in the best mumblecore movies, but without the intense navel-gazing that, for me, derails a lot of them. It's a movie that isn't afraid to play it wacky. There's a lot of broad comedy. Pratfalls. Funny flashbacks. Folks were rolling.

But most of all, what impressive performances cast-round. Sure everyone's playing slightly fictionalized versions of themselves, but it's hard to present a convincing version of yourself in front of camera. As the local lothario, Zach Turner turns up the smarm hilariously, but when he needs to, plays it down to something close to tenderness. Murdock Jones needs his own movie. And Rhett Brinkley does hapless with enough charisma to anchor an indie franchise.

The dudes made the movie like no one makes movies. They shot and edited almost concurrently. So, as you might expect, as the movie goes a long, it looks a lot better. You can tell they were figuring out as they went.

Time for another one!

After the screening, which was full — people were turned away, too — the after party at the Peabody was a madhouse. There was an open bar. A fashion show featuring bikinied models and Korto. And a typically excellent, if short, performance from Velvet Kente. By the look of the dancefloor, it looked like the band had some new converts.

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