SXSW Film Reviews
This paean to the late-Eighties punk DIY fanzine underground follows black-clad, brooding 'zinester Teri and her scruffy pals on a random adventure from South Carolina to NYC.
D: Esther Bell; with Nika Feldman, Preston Miller, Arik Roper, Julianne Nicholson, George Crowley, Fred Schneider. (Video, 74 min.)
This paean to the late-Eighties punk DIY fanzine underground follows black-clad, brooding zinester Teri and her scruffy pals on a random adventure from South Carolina to NYC. Unfortunately, the director's journey is less direct. Quite frankly, a few key elements left me feeling yanked, manipulated. First off: Promo shots of Teri brandishing a gun and nuzzling into the neck of her junkie best girlfriend imply places where this story just doesn't go -- so does a string of faded-memory sequences of Teri on the bed as a little girl with an older male looming over her. The scenes suggest some dark secret that never manifests. Why go there? When Godass takes the high road, it's so much better. Brilliantly animated myth sequences (DV-shot and After Effects-tweaked to make it look like 8mm) of the goddess Inanna confronting the beast are integral to the story's subplot of coming to grips with an estranged gay dad and his lover (the always charming B-52 boy Fred Schneider). Much to Bell's credit, she totally nails 1988: the sloppy-drunk parties, the wobbly walks home, the road trip woes, and characters -- especially actor Preston Miller's goofy hillbilly punk sweetie-pie Skank -- drawn straight off the pages of a tattered, Xeroxed zine. (Alamo, 3/16, 7:15pm)