Magazine article Variety

Sxsw Notebook: Meta Movies Abound

Magazine article Variety

Sxsw Notebook: Meta Movies Abound

Article excerpt



Working on the reasonable assumption that people who attend film festivals are receptive to films about other films, SXSW programmers sprinkled the 2013 lineup with biographical documentaries about noted directors and actors, a tribute to the era of VHS and, of course, mashups and homages that require audiences to be aware of "B" and "Z" movie conventions to appreciate the in-jokes. Still, the question remains: Can even the best of these films find a sizable audience outside of the fest circuit?

At SXSW, the answer to that query seemed to be, at best, a qualified maybe.

Sophie Huber's Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (D sustains interest and provides amusement as a free-wheeling, teasingly elliptical study of the elusively reserved character actor, who comes across here as alternatively playful and nihilistic as he sometimes answers, but mostly dodges, the director's probing queries. The 86-year-old subject - a legend with more than 200 film credits on his resume - seems to be only half-joking when he claims, "I've avoided success artniHy?

Two other biographical docs at SXSW - Jeffrey Schwartz's I Am Divine, (2) a tribute to the drag-queen diva who served as John Waters' muse, and Zak Knutson and Joey Figueroa's Milius, (3) a hagiographie portrait of macho writer-director John Milius - are more traditionally structured works.

Schwartz's affectionate appreciation of Divine's life and career should please fans and enlighten the uninitiated. Born Harris Glenn Milstead, the self-styled superstar comes off as surprisingly sweet, despite her notoriety as the excrement-chomping harridan of Waters' Pink Flamingos. …

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