Interviews and reviews
D: Andrew Neel and Luke Meyer
Andrew Neel and Luke Meyer knew they'd be throwing audiences into an unfamiliar world while making Darkon, about a 300-strong group of Medieval role-players who improvise elaborate battles in Baltimore-area parks. But rather than bog us down in the rules, rituals, and 20-year history of this complex war game, they narrowed their scope. The resulting doc concentrates on the people who play Darkon their families, backgrounds, and (for some) extreme social anxieties and on the visual drama, complete with crane and helicopter shots, of their Sunday-afternoon battlefields. These barrel-chested/heaving-bosomed middle managers, Starbucks cashiers, and single moms clock one another with foamed cudgels and maces, form tenuous peace treaties among imperialist countries, and generally act as grandiose as Hollywood's best warmongers all with an alarming devotion to staying in character. You won't leave this film with a full grasp of, say, how a Darkonian knows when he's mortally wounded, but you'll relate to this exuberant subculture more intimately than you'd perhaps expect.
Darkon received the Documentary Audience Award.
9pm, Austin Convention Center