FOR MAIN CHARACTER OF BIZARRE 'SHE'S ALLERGIC TO CATS', NOW PLAYING SF INDIE FEST
In Michael Reich's autobiographical She's Allergic To Cats, Mike Pinkney plays a character whose dream project is a remake of his favorite horror film, Carrie, done with live-action cats. The film also stars Sonja Kinski, the daughter of Nastassja Kinski and granddaughter of Klauss Kinski. It is by most accounts a bizarre, surreal, and yet warm experience. It is playing tonight (February 4th) and February 9th at the SF Indie Fest, having played the Fantasia Fest last summer (watch the trailer on Vimeo). "Simultaneously bizarre and conventional," wrote Birth. Movies. Death.'s Andrew Todd last summer, "She’s Allergic is a paradox and a miracle: a film informed by (and part of) a dirty VHS aesthetic, without being subsumed by it, filled with surreal humour that’s not there by accident." Here's a bit more from Todd's Fantasia review:
The performances are aided by a directorial eye that lasers in on things most directors would gloss over. Mike’s job as a dog groomer is explored in lurid detail, his boss waxing poetic over lathering techniques and engaging in a lengthy diversion into the need for expressing dogs’ anal glands. A significant portion of the film’s running time is made up of investigations into the logistics of Mike’s Cat Carrie production. Another lengthy sequence involves the dissection of a stranger’s DVD collection, with prominent shout-outs to Congo and Howard the Duck that ride waves of audience laughter with ease. Even ordinary dialogue exchanges are frequently given subtle, unexpected twists that push them into the realm of the absurd.
Shot in 4K on Red cameras and downgraded through DVD players, MiniDV, and VHS tapes, She’s Allergic To Cats is a lo-fi fever dream that is at once grungy and conventionally well-shot, with a warmth to the image you don't see often in digital indie features. But while the film’s full of tracking errors and abstract video art, Reich doesn’t use VHS artifacts as an affectation, as many of his contemporaries do. Instead, it’s expressive, appearing at times of high emotion, representing Mike’s increasingly inner turmoil over his decidedly low-stakes situation. Scenes become degraded to varying degrees because of what the scenes need, not to satisfy some desire for retro-aesthetic wankery. Reich’s background in video art lends him a smart sense of when to use it and why.
(Thanks to Chris!)