Friday, November 6, 2009

"Loma Lynda: The Red Door" Review

While many indie filmmakers try to blur the line between their creations and studio pics, it’s refreshing to see a film that hearkens back to the indie spirits of rabid experimentation and pure emotional evocation. “Loma Lynda: The Red Door” does this, but refuses to sacrifice quality. It displays the kind of stunning visual imagery one would expect from a big budget film but can only get now a days from art created where not too many people can get their hands on it.

This was a fascinating movie to watch. Its dreamlike movement from scene to scene was captivating. The film moved image to image like a series of still photos, each one worth the proverbial thousand words. For all this film expressed, however, there really wasn’t any discernible plot to speak of. There were two young girls, or maybe just one, and an older woman (she might have been the only one who was really real). Then there was the father. He was nuts but then he died, so he got what was coming to him. Or was it he who killed the young girl(s)? Maybe it was the older woman he killed, but only on the inside. And what was up with the puppets? Were they symbolic of innocence corrupted?

On an intellectual level, the film can get pretty confusing. However, if one just tells the mind to shut up and allows the heart to feel its through “Loma Lynda: The Red Door,” one quickly realizes why making sense can be overrated. In abandoning plot, time line continuity, and the laws of nature and common decency, only one thing remained: the reality of the psyche. It was like taking a tour through human thought. Images and the sensations they created blurred together, emotions rose and fell, sadness, fear, sensuality, perversion. Quick glimpses of a dejected future broke through the dreams and abuse like the very embodiment of self-doubt.

Make sense? It shouldn’t. That’s “Loma Lynda: The Red Door.” It was sexy, dark, and disturbing in a way something can only be when you suspect that parts of it, probably the worst parts, are true. I am without criticism in this sense if no other: when it’s well done and deeply moving, art endures no criticism. That is the sole duty of art, to be good and to move us. And, like it or lump it, this film was art.

One last brass tacks note: The acting in this piece was impeccable. The two young women in the film (Estefania Iglesias and Becky Altringer), though vague and detached, were lovely to watch. They seemed to yearn for connection and yet be incapable of achieving it. They were beautiful and damaged. David Fine, who played the father in this film, was tremendous. His violent fits of temper, homicidal threats, and disturbing sexual fixations were disconcerting in how believable he made them. Thumbs up to director, Jason Bognacki. Another SHOCKFEST must see!

Check it out at SHOCKFEST 2009, November 7 at Cinespace in Hollywood.

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