Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I love indie films. But many good indie films never make it to theatre and they are rarely available on Blockbuster or Netflix. I finally found a way to get the indie films without the time and expense of traveling to Toronto or NYC for film festivals.

Its called Film Movement.

I signed up last month. Its a indie DVD a month for something like $13. The DVD has a feature film and a short film along with the usual fare of DVD extras. I think most of the films have not been (and probably will never be) released in theatre. I received the first installment and watched it over the weekend - Choking Man.

I liked. The story of Jorge, a chronically shy Ecuadorian dishwasher working at a diner in Jamaica, Queens and living in Harlem. He rarely speaks and most of his time at work is spent washing dishes and gazing at the what-to-in-case-of-choking sign postioned over his station.

Things start to look up one day when a perky Chinese girl starts as a waitress. But shyness seems to win out for Jorge causing him to delve into inner thought rather than acting on his feelings.

Two things were very interesting to me about this film. The location - Jamaica, Queens. Which is a distinct part of Queens and if you've been there you know why. My dad spent a hunk of his youth in Jamaica so its history and novelty have seeped into the rest of our family. But I doubt most people are familiar with Jamaica, not even native NYer's. An odd choice but it works extremely well with the gritty, quirky tone of the film.

The other interesting aspect was the animation blended with realism. If you remember the MTV video "Take On Me" by A-Ha then you will recognize the style immediately. Steve Barron produced that A-Ha video in the 80's and now apparently he is producing indie films. Nice transition!

The animation pops up when Jorge slips into his inner world. Its chaotic on screen when this occurs but it beautifully represents the isolation that he feels as a new immgrant who cant quite find a fluid path around the social interaction barrier.

If you've ever felt isolated in any repsect, this film will speak to you. If not, just watch it for technical aspects, those are quite good.

Choking Man

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