Cinema by the Bay
USA, 2008, 83 minutes
Sun, Apr 26 / 8:45 / Kabuki / EVET26K
Tue, Apr 28 / 4:15 / Kabuki / EVET28K
Sat, May 2 / 6:30 / Kabuki / EVET02K
Married with two young sons and mired in a state of arrested development, Wayne surveys his life as if from a great distance. Enduring a daily regimen steeped in malaise, he reports to his carpentry job dressed in dingy overalls to make payments on a house that will soon be worth less than its mortgage. Meanwhile, at home his marriage is buckling under the weight of disillusionment and parental exhaustion. An unflinching contemplation of spiritual inertia and downward mobility, Frazer Bradshaw’s feature debut chronicles a life that is in actuality neither strange nor new. Invoking in its title Robert Browning’s “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” (It’s dull in our town since my playmates left! / I can’t forget that I’m bereft / Of all the pleasant sights they see / Which the Piper also promised me), Everything Strange and New ponders a bewildered life in which holding onto what one has is a losing proposition. “No one really ends up wanting what they think they want,” Wayne tells his drinking buddies who, like him, are adrift in introspection and ineffectuality. Photographed in Oakland with an evocative visual style all its own, Bradshaw’s film is moored by lingering, artfully composed shots of urban traffic, nondescript rooftops and rundown streets. Equally resonant is the brilliant soundscape, tempered by Kent Sparling’s hushed electro-acoustic score and featuring a recurrent explosive composition by East Bay saxophonist Dan Plonsey. All coalesce to create a piercing, meditative film that raises uncomfortable questions about the broken promises of the American dream.
Presented in association with the Oakland Film Society. West Coast Premiere.