The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 2011 Film Reviews

By Richard Whittaker, March 18, 2011, Screens


Emerging Visions
D: Michael Tully, with Robert Longstreet, Onur Tukel, Michael Tully

Take The Royal Tenenbaums. Steal their money, education, and clean clothes, and then dump them in rural Tennessee. Meet the Rawlings Brothers. Septien begins when long-lost brother Cornelius (played by director Tully) shambles home after 18 years. After that entrance, Tully has no interest in assembling a clear narrative. Instead he drops stones into the Rawlings’ dysfunctional family mill pond and stares at the ripples. By turns charmingly frustrating and annoyingly fascinating, their tale is more enigma than story. Where has ex-high school jock Cornelius been? What is brother Amos (Turkel) drawing in the barn? Why does self-declared matriarch Ezra (Longstreet) scrub everything in the ramshackle house? The common answer is a shared history, buried like the old camcorder in a sack in the yard, and a mystery, like Ezra’s perpetually and metaphorically incomplete jigsaw.

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