By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
African American arthouse film is a category that’s been doing some damn interesting things in the last few years, not that you’d know it from their mainstream exposure. Blogs like Shadow and Act do a great job of pointing out interesting titles it’s easy to miss otherwise, but you never know when you’ll be able to actually watch one. When I noticed that this one had hit DVD, I was pretty pumped.
Still waiting on you, Middle of Nowhere…
This film (nope, not retyping that title) is an incredibly original repurposing/expansion of young rising filmmaker Terence Nance’s acclaimed short, How Would You Feel?. It examines one of his relationships through the prism of his others, his experience with love in general, and an artist’s struggle, all rendered in a dazzling array of film styles.
When I say dazzling, I mean dazzling. Terence Nance has a burgeoning creative mind only matched by his burgeoning hairstyle.
Got an idea?
His film is at times poetic, writerly, straightforward, animated, home video, personal interview, recreation, stop motion, and much else besides. He has a great comedic visual sense as well, and the tunes by Flying Lotus accompany the riot of imagery perfectly.
All of this style is put to the service of an odd blend of truth and fiction. Whatever the facts, this story is obviously an intensely personal one, and Nance makes us feel it any way he can. This film is a psychoanalyst’s wet dream.
And that’s a bit of the problem. It’s so incredibly personal that eventually it becomes a bit exhausting, especially when he keeps perpetuating his problems in ways obvious to an outside observer, but maybe not to himself. Just go find somebody who’s into you, man.
(500) Days ain’t nothin’.
Well, this is forgivable in that it is so personal, but this film comes from a very, almost stodgily, male perspective. It’s Friend Zone: The Movie. For a minute here and there I thought we’d get the object of his affection’s perspective, and while eventually she does speak, we don’t really learn anything from it. Guess we’ll have to wait for her own promised film version.
Terence Nance is a filmmaker on the rise, and if he keeps bringing this degree of creativity to his future projects, we may have something special on our hands here. Whatever the case, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is a feverish look at love and relationships in the modern age.
Take a Drink: for every new film grain and starch
Take a Drink: whenever the narration changes
Take a Drink: for every different romantic interest
Do a Shot: every time you want to pull out a thesaurus