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By Kate X Messer, Fri., March 18, 2011

SXSW Film

Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja

Spotlight Premieres
D: Billy Corben

Florida true-crime wunderkind Billy Corben (Raw Deal: A Question of Consent, Cocaine Cowboys) returns a bit older, perhaps wiser, and we bet richer, to train his sun-kissed spotlight on a more melllllooow yet still outlaw topic. This polished, basic-cable-ready doc shotguns the romance of Seventies pot smuggling into three vignettes: the Coptic Church, a SoFla sect of (mostly white?) ganja-toking fundamentalists; the Black Tuna Gang, middle-class Miami suburbanites who got rolled up in one of the DEA/FBI's biggest headline-grabbing stings; and the entire municipality of Everglades City, a close-knit (French for "in-bred") fishing village/smuggling hotbed, located on the Gulf Coast side of the famous swamp. Corben's band provides some of the appropriately lulling Alan Jackson/Jimmy Buffett-y tunage as the film mimics the effects of the herb it profiles – unchallenging yet lovely cinematography enhances narrative delivered by talking head after talking head (and photos and mainstream news broadcasts) which curiously ... ummm, what was I saying?


Thursday, March 17, 4pm, Westgate; Friday, March 18, 10pm, Vimeo

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