Take a Drink: for false sincerity
Take a Drink: for passive aggression
Take a Drink: “300 years ago”
Take a Drink: for helplessness and life skills failures
Do a Shot: when you spot Caucasian Mindy Lahiri
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Catfishing documentaries and TV shows have provided us with some of the strangest, saddest, and most unnerving stories out there in recent years, from the rippling cultural impact of Catfish to the only believable because it happened The Imposter to this year’s excellent A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile. I Touched All Your Stuff may take the cake, though.
This Brazilian documentary tells the story of American everyman Christopher Kirk, who goes to Colombia ostensibly through an interest in Pablo Escobar’s hippos, and there encounters a mysterious, beautiful half Japanese/half Colombian girl. Their whirlwind relationship leads to a bounty of salacious secrets… and Kirk serving hard time in Sao Paulo, Brazil for trying to smuggle seven-odd pounds of cocaine into Brazil. Well, according to him, anyway.
Who wouldn’t trust a criminal who looks like Paul Scheer?
Directors Maira Buhler and Matias Mariani throw everything they have onscreen, from Youtube videos, stock footage and narration, very differently toned interviews with friends from his old cornpone Oregon days and his clearly dingier Colombian years, Errol Morris-style direct-to-camera confessionals, an entire computer’s worth of purportedly unmodified key-logged conversations, photos, and cell phone videos to even stop-motion Pinocchio animation. There’s never a dull moment, which is impressive when you consider a significant portion of the action is conveyed via Instant Messenger.
Shit, I feel old.
The heart of the film, for all the efforts of Buhler and Mariani to contextualize and supplement and draw conclusions, is the story a yellow jumpsuit-clad Kirk wants to tell- and it’s a fascinating one. Structuring the film chronologically allows us to follow the thread of seduction and infidelity as Kirk and his conveniently comprehensive PC tower unspool it. Whether or not you buy all of it (“V” is clearly real on some level- judicious pausing will even give you a clear look at her face), Kirk’s story is gripping, and much like last year’s excellent Point and Shoot, gets to larger themes of why somebody would leave it all behind and risk an uncertain, dangerous life abroad. There’s a distinct fear of mediocrity, of living your life without making even the faintest toeprint in the sands of the universe that we share, and that drives some of us to further lengths than others.
For all the sound and fury, you’re left with the unmistakable impression that I Touched All Your Stuff doesn’t tally much in the significance column. The filmmakers are never able to (or are prevented from) clearly drawing a parallel between Kirk’s femme fatale tale and his incarceration, and the fact that they don’t bother bringing his story up to the present day (as far as I can make out, he’s back in the U.S., living as… an international fugitive?) leaves you with a distinctly unfulfilled feeling in the end.
There’s clearly a lot more going on with Wally Blanco here.
I Touched All Your Stuff is a perplexing, but thoroughly intriguing attempt to delve into the secrets of either a con man or a man conned.