Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Mondo Penguin" Review

There is a certain confidence about a film that gets in and out quickly. It conveys to the audience that a film has done its job and doesn't have to stick around to belabor the point or make up for flaws the filmmakers can only recognize as a vague paranoia lurking just below the film's surface.

"Mondo Penguin" comes in strong with attention grabbing penguins. It cites the recent popularity of the birds in film, then seeks to draw our attention to the deeper, more prevalent presence of penguins throughout the history of film, including many indie flicks of today. It seems that penguins have for some time been insightful, disturbed filmmakers who's stark vision was shaped by a world where one's cradle is a frozen wasteland.

Humorous and satirical, Vincent Gargiulo's "Monto Penguin" pokes fun at activists and filmmakers alike. Like any good mock, Gargiulo takes just enough from reality so as to get a person thinking, "Hey, that almost makes sense... Wait, no it doesn't. Penguins don't have thumbs." But in this very short short, a riveting narrator and an immaculate cornucopia of B-roll footage smack of professionalism and, dare I say, realism.

My only suggestion is this: It is hard to be interviewed. Let me rephrase. It's hard for good actors to be interviewed. There's something about sitting still and talking like a normal person that seems to confound actors that are otherwise very effective. Most of them invariably try too hard, as do the actors in "Mondo Penguin," though not to the point of great detriment.

Intricately done and surprising, this film is worth seeing, and, at less than five minutes in length, very well worth the time.

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