Saturday, March 25, 2006

Dear Wendy

When Aaron leaves town, I get to lead his film discussions. I always seem to get to show a keep-you-up-at-night-thinking type of movie, where disturbed teens self-mutilate or delusional women stalk imagined lovers. Last night was no exception. Ten people came to the Thomas Ford Memorial Library and saw Dear Wendy, a film about the American fascination with guns. I doubt any of us slept well.

As I watched the movie, I wondered whether anyone would have anything to say. I should not have worried. As the credits started rolling, so did the questions and observations. Where was the movie set? It could have been any coal town in America, and the clues were ambiguous. The time was also unspecified. No one had a cellphone. No one had a home computer. The main character played Zombies' records that he had rediscovered. So was it the 1970s? With the antique weapons and costumes, it was in a way all time American. The evidence of American fanaticism came from many eras.

While the film was about America, it was not an American production. It was filmed in Denmark and Germany by two of Denmark's Dogme 95 filmmakers. They did not stick to the Dogme 95 creed. With violence and background music, it was a sensational film, very un-Dogme on the surface. Still, there was an economy of story that was very effective.

Was it a good movie? Nine out of ten of our viewers seemed to give it a thumbs up. Even the viewer who said he hated it admitted that it was very well done. I would agree.

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