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

TRILOGUE; LIVE IN BERLIN 1976, a concert film (Jazz Shots/Southbound DVD)

TRILOGUE; LIVE IN BERLIN 1976, a concert film (Jazz Shots/Southbound DVD)

The tragic story of bassist Jaco Pastorius (1961-87) has been told in depth at Elsewhere (here) but this concert film from '76 -- with avant-trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff and drummer Alphonse... > Read more

BUBBA HO-TEP a film by DON COSCARELLI, 2002 (MAGNA PACIFIC DVD)

BUBBA HO-TEP a film by DON COSCARELLI, 2002 (MAGNA PACIFIC DVD)

Twentysomething years ago an amusing little book appeared, Elvis: The Novel. I don’t remember much of it, other than Elvis killing manager Tom Parker, and at one point an overweight Elvis is... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Yes; The Triple Album Collection

THE BARGAIN BUY: Yes; The Triple Album Collection

Here's a story from the battleground of fun: In recent months I have -- for purely academic purposes, you understand -- been buying up cheap vinyl by prog-rock and glam-rock bands. It's kinda... > Read more

Darren Watson: Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy (Red Rocks)

Darren Watson: Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy (Red Rocks)

It's been far too long between albums for Wellington blues-rocker Watson -- frontman-guitarist for Chicago Smokeshop, later simply Smokeshop -- because his excellent South Pacific Soul album (under... > Read more