BASEBALL, a film by F. THEODORE ELLIOTT

 |   |  1 min read

BASEBALL, a film by F. THEODORE ELLIOTT

From the flickering typed-out titles, this strangely compelling 80 minute debut feature by Auckland filmmaker Elliott warns you of its lo-fi and homemade quality, and that it is a labour of love which is populated by friends.

Because it is episodic -- some characters speak direct to camera with stories or abut ideas which seem disjointed and there is voice-overs which sound like short stories -- you look past whatever technical shortcomings there are and hook in to the teasingly incomplete incidents or narratives, and get enticed by seeing sometimes very mundane images on the screen held up for consideration.

Empty streets, rows of archetypal suburban houses, telephone poles and bland fences, houses full of junk which seem abandoned . . .

Some of these are American too, drawn from television, old films and books.

There is also a soundtrack which includes songs from the Fifties (always a pleasure to hear that Pacific sound of Sleepwalk) and odd sources. Many of the songs also suggest better worlds elsewhere than the one on the screen.

There's also a lengthy passage in French at the midpoint, found images from television, cuts between sections in colour and black'n'white . . . The result is like a strange collage of images around what seems to be a group of loosely connected – and slightly disconnected – young people.

If there are discernible themes here they are those which often preoccupy people in their late teens or 20s: boredom, conspiracies, private melodramas, dreams, death, mysteries and loneliness.

The actors – which includes a number of indie musicians Lloyd Thomason (formerly of Troubled Frank, now solo as Lloyd Frank), Elliot Lawless (Greenfog, Her Desher, Son of Sons) and Callum Lee (Rewind Fields) – are free of guile and “act” with a naturalness which will make this accessible to the target audience.

The attention on the mundane and ordinary – remember the plastic bag in American Beauty? – serves to elevate them and take them out of their wider context.

In many ways not a lot happens – sometimes you are watching people watching something or telling personal confessions or reminiscences -- but the sense of emotional dislocation comes through clearly by the end.

From the ordinary to the surreal, Baseball is an ambitious first feature which deliberately steps away from the mainstream and creates a post-modern world of its own where television and real life, fact and fiction, America and your own hometown, past and present, truth and lies all have similar weight.

Baseball is having screenings around the country in June at which some of the musician-actors will perform. For more details see their Facebook page here.

Tour_Poster

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

HOOKED: ANTI-DRUG FILMS FROM THE 30'S TO THE 70'S (Rocket/Triton DVD): Marijuana to murder in 15 minutes

HOOKED: ANTI-DRUG FILMS FROM THE 30'S TO THE 70'S (Rocket/Triton DVD): Marijuana to murder in 15 minutes

Every generation thinks it invents the same two things: swearing and sex. Equally, in the Western world at least, for the past century or so every generation gets the soundtrack it needs. And the... > Read more

UTU REDUX, a film by GEOFF MURPHY

UTU REDUX, a film by GEOFF MURPHY

New Zealand landscapes lend themselves to the visual and emotional language of film: the black sand shore of The Piano; the towering Southern Alps inhabited by horsemen and warrior orks in Lord of... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER PATRICK SMITH tells of surviving the shits in far flung parts

GUEST WRITER PATRICK SMITH tells of surviving the shits in far flung parts

It’s not until you’ve lain miserably ill in some far-off outpost of underdevelopment that you really appreciate Western standards of healthcare and hygiene. Lying in a fleabag... > Read more

Anoushka Shankar: Traces of You (Universal)

Anoushka Shankar: Traces of You (Universal)

Although nominally here under "World Music in Elsewhere", this emotionally charged album by the daughter of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar is her most cohesively interesting and engaging... > Read more