Friday, 11 June 2010

It Came From Kuchar

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Dir: Jennifer M. Kroot (Sirens of the 23rd Century)
Documentary filmmaking twin brothers George Kuchar & Mike Kuchar
USA, 2010

Reason to see: Documentaries on films or filmmakers are always a yes for me!

I'm always curious to see films about films or filmmakers so when hearing about It Came From Kuchar, which is about underground film making twin brothers George Kuchar and Mike Kuchar, I knew I had to see it.

I was surprized that I'd wasn't already familiar with them, given George's well over 200 films to his credit on IMDb and Mike Kuchar less but still impressive credits on IMDb, but it's clear that even in a digital age their works are very of the underground. But, the great thing about the documentary is even if you are new to the Kuchars like me, they have great interviews with people that talk about the experience and influence of their films giving a nice amount of background on their work supplemented with clips upon clips of archival footage of their films. Alongside this historical context with film archivists, journalists and Kuchar film stars, there are also fascinating interviews with fellow filmmakers John Waters (Pink Flamingos), Atom Egoyan (Chloe), Guy Maddin (Brand Upon the Brain!), Wayne Wang (A Thousand Years of Good Prayers) and Buck Henry (Heaven Can Wait) that provide entertaining insight into the Kuchar brothers work and also how it's effected them as filmmakers.

Then we get to George and Mike Kuchar, whom are featured throughout the film not only in interviews and in their current situations, but also through archival footage. I was surprized there was more of them interviewed together or talking about each other, but they always had a lot to say. Seeing the work they have done in the past, from Super 8 to currently 'consumer' grade equipment as it's termed in the film, was fascinating. I loved watching the archival footage, which is wild and expressive and completely over the top. To see that kind of work continued to be done today, was a little different. Why continue over so many years to use the same themes, charactactures, etc. It's something I'm still trying to work out, something I'm thinking about, and I think that's a good thing.

In fact, I left the film with lots of questions to think about, the majority of which are about filmmaking in general, how it's perceived, the effect of different formats, different formats used in different times, etc. There were a few that I think could have been addressed, or more addressed, but in general I felt like I left with a huge volume of knowledge on these filmmakers and wanting to know more. I like documentaries that take that approach - they tell you a lot, but you still want more. The good thing is with them there is a lot more to explore.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it as fans of film on film

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

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