The strangest moment of the night had to be the cross-dressing Hitler. No doubt about it. Barnaby Aaron, Charles Borowicz, Philip Mott and Trisha Borowicz take questions about their satirical film 'Embolism.'
The long-heralded "secret screening" at the Indiana Underground Film Festival turned out to be Titler, a 10-minute short in which a Hitler look-alike in a dress sings showtunes. Badly. Imagine Bill Murray's old lounge singer character in SNL as a genocidal madman. In high heels and evening wear.
I guess you sorta had to be there. Let's just say it brought new meaning to the phrase "uncomfortable laughter."
Whatever the case, the fourth annual IUFF, held at Key Cinemas Nov. 6 by the Film Commune, was a change in pace from previous years. It was all shorts and no features, pressed into a tightly-paced two-hour period.
"There really is no limit to what you can get away with in short film," Chad Richards, of the Film Commune, said. "You don't have to make it marketable. It's just the director trying to hone his craft. We tended to go a little bit darker this year."
Certainly it wasn't for everyone. About a third of the audience walked out in the middle of the first short, Anonymous, with its extremely dark tale of a female hustler in New York City. Those who remained were well-prepared for Foo-Foo Dust, an intense documentary about mother-and-son heroin addicts.
The final short of the event was Indianapolis' local entry, Embolism, by the team of AnC Movies (www.ancmovies.com; the folks responsible for the wacky hitman fun of Him Her Roland). Embolism was great fun, a satire of art movies that are too pretentious for their own good. "Barnaby [Aaron] just wrote the most pretentious, clichéd art-film script he could think of, and then we all spent a month coming up with subtitles to 'explain' what was going on," said AnC's Trisha Borowicz.
The trick worked; seeing things like a couple playing chess to represent the game of love, with subtitles like "Note how this genius director uses CHESS to represent the game of love," was sheer hilarity. Is it profoundly pretentious pretending, or merely pretending to have the pretense of profundity?
Only the AnC crew knows for sure.
The IUFF is only the beginning of a run of local films screening in the next several weeks. Don Boner's Somewhere in Indiana premieres Dec. 3, and Chad Richards and Joel Umbaugh will be screening new films Dec. 14. Check out the Dec. 1 issue of NUVO for more information.