Friday, May 14, 2010

Movie of
the Month:
Part 18

I recently
the follow-
ing film
for Video Librarian, and thought the results were worth sharing.

BEESWAX [***1/2]
(Andrew Bujalski, US, 100 mins.)

Andrew Bujalski continues his winning streak of insightful
independent features with Beeswax. Sisters Tilly and Maggie
Hatcher play twins Jeannie and Lauren, who live in Austin, site
of Bujalski's first film, Funny Ha Ha. Jeannie, who uses a wheel-
chair, runs a vintage clothing shop and fears that her business
partner, Amanda (Anne Dodge), may cost her the store.

Amanda, whose father drafted their contract, is often out of town,
spends little time in Storyville, and even hires employees without
consulting her. Jeannie's fear permeates every scene, even when
more mundane things, a Bujalski specialty, seem to be happening.

By contrast, Lauren isn't irresponsible or aimless, but she lacks
Jeannie's focus and ambition. Between jobs and newly single (Go-
director David Zellner plays her ex-boyfriend), she consid-
ers taking a teaching position in Kenya. Bujalski presents their
relationship with sensitivity, but steers clear of sentimentality.

Similarly, he doesn’t play Jeannie's disability for laughter or tears;
it's just a part of her life. She doesn't feel sorry for herself and nor
do her companions treat her like anything less than an equal, from
her mother to her on-and-off-again law student boyfriend Merrill
(Woodpecker director Alex Karpovsky), but the way they all try
to help out with her career conundrum could end up doing more
harm than good (hence the title allusion to "mind your own bees-
wax"). In a quiet and understated way, Bujalski's matter-of-fact
detailing of her everyday life feels almost feels revolutionary.

Supplements include a "tribute to extras" featurette with direc-
torial commentary, actor Kevin Corrigan's affectionate liner not-
es (he doesn't appear in the film), and D.J. Taitelbaum's alternate
score, a minimalist electronic affair (the filmmaker otherwise
eschews a conventional soundtrack). Highly recommended.

Click here for a review of Bujalski's Mutual Appreciation and

for Movie of the Month, Part 17: The Missing Person

Endnote: Slightly revised from the
original text. Image from

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