SXSW Film

Interviews and reviews

SXSW Film

The Other Side

D: Bill Brown

Essay films can bore even the most well-intentioned audience: Meandering thoughts disconnected from the images onscreen just don't capture the attention like a straightforward story. But Bill Brown's The Other Side does just that. As he travels along the U.S./Mexico border, his musings, juxtapositions of historical and contemporary curiosities, and interviews with people along the way create the distinct feel of travel and illustrate how a narrative can naturally unfold along highways and backroads as you mull something over – like, say, your thoughts on immigration – without forcing the issue. Brown's visuals do equal justice to his travelogue: a time-lapsed shot of the desert topped by a sliver of sky, as Brown disappears into the impossible distance; Brown standing in front of an old Western set as costumed re-enactors perform a shootout around him; a prolonged shot of a modest fence separating California from Mexico, extending out into the ocean. The Other Side sticks in the imagination like a series of sun-bleached postcards, complete with scribblings on the back.

4:30pm, Dobie

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