SXSW Film

Reviews and interviews

SXSW Film

Modern Love Is Automatic

Narrative Feature, Emerging Visions
D: Zach Clark; with Melodie Sisk, Maggie Ross, Carlos Bustamante, Tom Neubauer, Diana Cherkas

Like scads of current bands and thrift-store twentysomethings, Modern Love Is Automatic references the 1980s in a number of literal ways (not the least of which is the Flock of Seagulls song it takes as its title), but the manner in which it revisits the black-comedy trash films of that decade is more than superficial. Its story of deadpan nurse Lorraine Schultz (Sisk), who moonlights as a dominatrix, hits "refresh" on the aburdist-nihilist sex romps of John Waters or Paul Bartel: Clark concocts a pervy, self-enclosed universe that's as comic as the work of his minigenre predecessors, as well as a shade less cartoonish and more consistently styled (Lorraine's monochromatic outfits are works of art). Despite more than a hint of misanthropy and uniformly repulsive behavior on the part of 90% of its characters, Modern Love allows in traces of vulnerability and pathos; the effect is surprisingly poignant.


Saturday, March 21, 7:15pm, Alamo South Lamar

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