Each day at SXSW I’ll post a brief rundown, in chronological order, of the screenings from the previous day. For most of the films at SXSW, ballots are issued so that the films can be rated on a scale of one to five. You’re not able to give a half point rating (e.g. 3.5), so I’ve been rounding up when applicable. I’ll share my SXSW rating, along with my preferred rating in parentheses.
SXSW Day 7:
Two Pigeons uses the striking physical presence of Javier Botet to great effect. The actor suffers from Marfan syndrome, and has an extremely tall and emaciated figure, with elongated limbs. He has portrayed non-human characters in the past (The Crooked Man in The Conjuring 2). Here he portrays Orlan, who is living inside the walls of another man’s apartment. When that man (Hussein, portrayed by Mim Shaik) goes to work, goes to sleep, etc. Orlan inhabits the apartment as if it were his own. He uses Hussein’s toothbrush, eats his food, and makes himself at home. As the film goes on, Orlan ups the ante and his invasive acts become more noticeably impactful to Hussein. Well acted and atmospheric, the story nonetheless feels better suited for a segment of an anthology, or an episode of a show in the vein of The Twilight Zone.
3 out of 5 (3)
Bodom (listed at SXSW as Lake Bodom) is a Finnish horror film that claims to be “inspired” by true events. The film follows four teenagers on a camping trip in the remote wilderness. There are some truly interesting twists to what could’ve been just a conventional slasher pic, but the story is more convoluted than needed, and the ending didn’t work for me at all.
3 out of 5 (2.5)
Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live… and More is a star studded tribute to the 70s pop/rock band, Big Star, and more specifically to their 3rd album. Although not a commercial success, Big Star were nonetheless very influential (especially to the college rock scene of the 80). This concert film features alt icons such as Jeff Tweedy, Robyn Hitchcock, Mike Mills along side surviving band member Jody Stephens performing songs primarily from the album Third (also known Sister Lovers) which, due to a great deal of orchestral instrumentation, had never been fully represented in a live setting. Here they enlist a full chamber orchestra including The Kronos Quartet. Late band members Alex Chilton and Chris Bell are certainly missed, but this labor of love is a fitting tribute to an overlooked masterpiece.
4 out of 5 (3.5)
Meatball Machine Kodoku is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and for that reason, difficult for me to objectively review. Friends of mine who watch these types of films on a regular basis say that it checks all the boxes (absurd premise, gratuitous nudity, and buckets of blood). I enjoyed experiencing something that was new to me, and the setting (midnight screening) was certainly appropriate.
3 out of 5 (2.5)