Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Pincus" World Premiere this Saturday

Director David Fenster's new film Pincus is set to have its premiere at the LA Film Fest this weekend, and I recently reviewed it (alongside Val Kilmer's one man show as Mark Twain) for Artillery Magazine (offline but now here). Fenster's previous feature Trona (2004) was described by critic Scott Foundas as "an evocation of the desolate road poetry remembered from the best films of Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch" and screened at MoMA.

Although not technically a member of the Small Form films collective that produced Mike Ott's celebrated indie film LiTTLEROCK (2010 & now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Netflix streaming from Kino Lormer), Fenster was associated with the group at CalArts, and—like Trona—his new film Pincus features a remarkably assured lead performance by Small Form renaissance dude Dave Nordstrom, whose own writer/director/actor feature trifecta Sawdust City (2011) is still making the festival rounds.

Nordstrom plays the title character, Pincus Finster, an incompetent and/or indifferent building contractor in over his head trying to take over the business his father abandoned after succumbing to Parkinson's. The father, Paul Finster, is played by the director's father Paul Fenster, who has lived with Parkinson's for the past 13 years—which only partly accounts for his unaffected naturalistic performance.

Joining a yoga class to pick up chicks, Pincus begins to explore New Age treatments—partly in hopes of helping his dad, and partly as a manifestation of his own bumbling spiritual yearning. As his contracting business unravels, he allows his one employee—a homeless German drunk—to move into a tent on his father's property, but after a couple of days Dietmar (the late Dietmar Franosch) vanishes, shifting Pincus' search into a more pragmatic mode. Or so it seems.

Beautifully shot by Fenster, and minimally but exquisitely scored by John Wood, the deadpan episodic storyline thrums with a formalist glow that imbues Pincus' low-key existential bewilderment with a sense of impending revelation—a promise fulfilled by one of the most satisfyingly anti-climactic denouements ever filmed, which manages to veer Fenster's improvisational autobiographical naturalism toward a magic realism worthy of Vittorio de Sica's Miracle in Milan. Now that's WTF!

A film by David Fenster. Starring David Nordstrom, Paul Fenster, Christi Idavoy, and Dietmar Franosch. Directed and Written by David Fenster. Executive Producer Phil Lord. Director of Photography David Fenster. Edited by David Fenster. Music by John Wood. Total running time: 78 mins.

Click here to see a clip on youtube.

Los Angeles Film Festival Screenings:
Saturday, June 16th at 8:10pm - Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE - Premiere
Thursday, June 21st at 7:40pm - Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE - Public Screening

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