Friday, September 23, 2011

Two Box Sets: Swanberg's Collected Films 2011 and Nilsson's 9@Night series

So, Joe Swanberg is releasing his last four films as a box set, via Factory 25 and employing a unique distribution plan by releasing each film quarterly along with extras. I have to admit, I haven't seen a Swanberg film since Hannah Takes the Stairs, but not because I didn't like his films. I thought his film before that, LOL, was very good. I saw it in a packed theater in San Francisco's Mission district, and the crowd loved it. Since then he's seemed to garner a lot of critical derision. I can recall an audience member being quoted after attending of his more recent films as saying something like, "These films are the product of a culture with nothing left to say." (I can't find the article that contained the quote.)

I find I'm often attracted to polarizing artists. Sometimes, they're misunderstood or unfairly maligned, and sometimes, well, the work just happens to suck. I'd like to take a look at these films, and I am intrigued by the distribution method. But at one hundred dollars, the price is a bit steep, especially if I end up not liking the films. Here's a post at cinemaspragus that makes one of the films in the set, Silver Bullets, look interesting -- certainly a departure from anything I've seen by Swanberg in the past.

On a somewhat related note, there is a box set I've been meaning to buy for a long time now -- Rob Nilsson's 9@Night series, and before I even consider buying Swanberg's set, I'm definitely getting Nilsson's first. I saw two of the films in the series when they played at the San Francisco Roxie in 2008, and was pretty blown away by how good they were. A filmmaker friend once told me Nilsson's movie's were sloppy, and I could see what he meant by that; Rob didn't seem to care much for aesthetics, at least not in a superficial sense. I got the feeling he didn't sweat the details because he was reaching for something higher. Most of the time, he got there. I thought it was everything independent film should be. I plan on getting the set soon, and writing about each film in length.

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