Frownland

In March I caught the premiere of Ronald Bronstein’s Frownland at SXSW. Soon after seeing it, I wrote:

Frownland is clearly designed as an audience endurance test, a kind of cinematic middle-finger. Though not enjoyable in any conventional sense, it’s an unusual and original film that succeeds on its own uncompromising terms. Recommended viewing for brave lovers of cult films; others will probably want to skip it.

I would only slightly modify this statement to say, as we enter month nine of 2007, that Frownland ranks as one of my favorite films of the year. I was reminded of this by reading David Lowery’s Filmmaker Magazine interview with Bronstein, which has just been posted online.

Not everyone shares David’s or my admiration for the movie. Here’s an interview highlight from Bronstein that illustrates what a polarizing movie this is:

[A] fight nearly broke out after this one screening in Las Vegas. Some guy in the back of the theatre was booing throughout the closing credits. When they ended, this other guy stood up, turned to face the booer, and screamed, “You! You’re a fucking asshole!” I mean he really screamed. He was absolutely enraged. Red as a beet. Shaking. That’s when a third guy stood up and started defending the booer. The second guy turned on the third. Everyone was arguing. It was sort of a melee. Turns out that last guy was the attending critic for Variety and he wound up writing us a killer review.

Click here to read the whole thing.

3 Responses to “Frownland”

  1. twolane Says:

    I caught Frownland in NYC last week and i’m not sure what you mean by “not enjoyable in any conventional sense”. The film is bleak and gut-wrenching and really really funny too. Lodge Kerrigan introduced the film by saying that if you couldnt have fun with it maybe the problem lies within yourself. I agree.

  2. Paul Says:

    Glad you caught it. What I meant by “not enjoyable in any conventional sense” is just what you said yourself — it’s “bleak and gut-wrenching and really really funny too.” I’d call that enjoyable, but unconventionally so. It sure ain’t lite entertainment.

  3. Overman’s Blog » Ralph and Chuck, Number 2 Says:

    […] Conventional (Indie): Frownland. This one first came to my attention via Paul Harrill’s blog on the subject. The protagonist sounds like a remarkably interesting character. As is any film that can elicit the kinds of responses this article in Filmmaker Magazine describes. I look forward to this being available for all of us to see. […]