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Nov 18, 2003

American Movie 

Another one from my documentary seeing spree. American Movie documents an aspiring film-maker, Mark Borchardt, somewhere in the depths of Wisconsin, trying to make a direct-to-market movie with his meager resources and infrastructure. At one point you may think that Mark's obsession with movie making is foolish, even pathetic, but as you watch the documentary you see the person, his relationships, his dreams and above all his life and in the end when he accomplishes the task, you know you'll have to applaud the guy, for all that he has been through.

Mark is an average or even below average(in terms of financial status) American guy with a penchant for film making. He adores horror movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre(the original one), Night of the Living Dead etc and has been making short movies since he was fourteen. We follow the making of his new movie Coven, a 35 minute black and white horror flick, through a time frame of 2+ years. Other main characters in the movie are Mark's ex-stoner pal Mike, who found his calling in life, which is to buy lotteries and who is a born again teetotaller after years of drug use and alchoholism and Mark's ailing uncle, who after Mark's relentless persuasion finally agrees to finance the film out of his retirement fund and Mark's parents, who although reluctant at first, support Mark in his pursuit of the 'American Dream'. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, 'American Movie', is something you can only find in 'America', in the rest of the world we'd be done in by survival pressures before anyone of us had made it even halfway thru'.

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