Monday, July 26, 2004

The devil's playground

Ang and I took a bit of a break from the list this weekend just
because we had people over and didn't necessarily want to impose our
cinematic torture on them. But in the 3 for 20 bin at Hollywood over
the weekend I picked up The Fast Runner, Monsoon Wedding and The
Devil's Playground... we watched Monsoon Wedding saturday night and
the movie I was most looking forward to The Devil's Playground
yesterday. I guess Ang and I have been on a bit of a documentary kick
lately, from Capturing the Friedmans to A Decade Under the Influence
to Lost in La Mancha to Stevie we've either watched or got quite a few
documentaries in the viewing queue.

Devil's Playground follows a group of Amish youth as they go through
Rumspringa... basically their time to see if they want to "become
english" or get baptised into the Amish church. They get to drive,
drink, smoke, go to the mall, hook up and do just about everything
else that isn't condoned by the church, and at first glance I thought
it was going to be something along hte lines of "Amish Girls Gone
Wild". I suppose it is in a way, but not in the same way. The partying
reminded me a lot of the time I spent working Texas Week on South
Padre Island running drunk busses. Everything looks fun until you see
the guy who's having a bad trip on ecstasy and is having what looks
like a seizure on the ground, or the girl who's so mind blowingly
drunk that she can barely function. I guess the Amish consider it a
matter of getting the world out of their children's system so that
they can choose the Amish life without regrets, but in a world where
it's much easier to go to extremes, it's surprising that they still
have a 90% retention rate (the highest it's been in centuries)

The film was shot on DV, and what looks like low end DV at that, but
it's interesting enough that you can forgive it's technical
inadequacies. Anyway, it's worth checking out. It doesn't rise to the
level of Lost in La Mancha or Capturing the Friedman's, but it's an
interesting little story nonetheless. It's also one of the first
documentaries that's been allowed to film Amish life.. capturing
interviews with older Amish as well, so it's interesting to look into
a pretty foreigh culture.

Have any of you seen an interesting documentary lately? Mayor
Hickenlooper's brother's Mayor of the Sunset Strip is still probably
in my top 10 documentaries of the year.

Don't forget Colorado Springs Film Society is tonight with a screening
of The Manchurian Candidate. Come check out the original before seeing
the remake this weekend. The doors at Vanguard Church open at 6:30
with the movie starting at 7 and a discussion following afterwards.
Vanguard is behind Gunther Toodys off the corner of Austin Bluffs and
N. Academy.

Hopefully see you tonight!