As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Wadley

Posted by Hedwig on February 5, 2008

I originally titled this post “Three From Rotterdam”. While writing, I realized I’d filled a whole poss talking about just the first movie. So I’ll keep the other two (Men’s Group and End of the Line) for another day. Why was it those three? Simple: people ended up on my site googling these three movies. For their trouble, they got only one line about each, which doesn’t seem fair. Anyway, for now, I’ll just talk about

Wadley (Matias Meyer)

matias.jpg

Is it bad to like a director more than the movie he made? Or, to be more precise, to respect the intention more than the final product? Wadley, to me, was a hightly frustrating film, even if it lasts only 60 minutes. Why? Well, because for once, the three sentence description in the programma booklet was not just accurate, but complete. A guy goes into the desert. He walks around. He finds peyote, eats it. He wanders about some more.

That’s it. Really. There is barely any dialogue, mainly a lot of walking. One inspiration cited by Matias Meyer was Gerry, and I can see the connection, but Gerry still had the banter between Damon & Affleck, and some suspense about whether they’d make it out. Still, while I was very restless and my mind wandered, I realized after the movie that I hadn’t been bored for even a second. I had certainly not been on the verge of falling asleep, as did happen with some other festival movies (I’m looking at you, Marrakesh Inshallah). And when I asked the director what his goal had been, what state of mind he’d wanted to put his viewers in…

He replied he hated movies that were playing the audience. Hated the Hollywood industry that had perfected the art of manipulating people’s emotions to a point that even if you were aware of the manipulation, it worked anyway. And he’s right. His movie, while frustrating, is truly a different experience for everyone who watches it, inciting different emotions depending on your own background and thoughts.

And, I suspect, depending on your state of intoxication. The director, DP and actor used Peyote while filming, and while the camera work is anything but sloppy, it doesn’t surprise. There’s a languorousness about it, a fascination with tiny, meaningless things that feels thoroughly drug-induced. Meyer is a bit of a hippie-type, talking about respecting the desert and the evils of city life that you literally puke out after taking peyote, but when he talks about it, I have to admit it sounds quite appealing.

Unfortunately, I have to admit it does not add up to a good movie. It did, however, lead to a movie that can be described as an interesting experience for the open-minded, or for those who’d like their mind opened a little more.

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