Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Psychobabble recommends 'It Came from Kuchar'

In the early ‘60s, George and Mike Kuchar were at the forefront of underground film, both because of their unique visions and their extreme prolificacy. Between 1960 and 1969, the twins turned out well over thirty films, including the cult classics Sins of the Fleshapoids, Hold Me While I’m Naked, and The Craven Sluck. While their underground peers like Stan Brakhage and Kenneth Anger were laboring over inaccessibly arty experiments, The Kuchars were shooting perverse 8mm homages to genre pictures: science fiction, horror, and melodrama (then patronizingly labeled “women’s pictures”). Yet, amidst the outrageous premises, outlandishly bad acting, and grotesque makeup work of “Mr. Dominic” (a.k.a.: George Kuchar!) are oddly heartfelt stories of damaged humanity and the desire for connection. It’s impossible to imagine John Waters’s film career without the Kuchars’s influence (a statement with which Waters would no doubt agree).



Jennifer M. Kroot’s It Came From Kuchar is a wonderful tribute to the eccentric Kuchars, featuring testimonies by a wide range of more renowned filmmakers, including Wayne Wang, Atom Egoyan, Buck Henry, and, of course, Waters. But the stars of the film are most definitely introverted, sensitive Mike Kuchar and extroverted George, who teaches film at The San Francisco Art Institute and continues to pump out bizarro films with the assistance of his students at a prodigious rate. Because of the Kuchars’s off-kilter methods of expressing themselves and their troubled upbringing It Came from Kuchar bears a striking resemblance to Terry Zwigoff’s 1994 doc Crumb (and the Kuchars, both remarkable painters and illustrators, were also ‘60s scene-mates with R. Crumb). While that film occasionally felt as though Zwigoff was holding Crumb and his very troubled brothers up to a small degree of ridicule, and it’s overall tone was one of glum decay, Kroot’s film is inspirational, clearly coming from a place of deep love and respect for the Brothers Kuchar. Catch it now while it’s available to watch instantly on Netflix or buy the DVD here at Amazon.com.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
All written content of Psychobabble200.blogspot.com is the property of Mike Segretto and may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.