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Beneath the Radar: Mutual Appreciation

Featuring as one of EIFF's State of Independents selection, Andrew Bujalski's second feature is a witty low-fi treat. Following on from 2003’s impressive debut Funny Ha Ha, writer-director Bujal...

Featuring as one of EIFF's State of Independents selection, Andrew Bujalski's second feature is a witty low-fi treat.

Following on from 2003’s impressive debut Funny Ha Ha, writer-director Bujalski’s Mutual Appreciation is illustrative of the current upsurge in quality US Indies.

Following the break-up of his band, Alan (Jason Rice) visits Lawrence (Bujalski) and his girlfriend (Rachel Clift) in Brooklyn. Having found inspiration in his new environment, Alan decides to make the move permanent and attempts to get his music career back on track. It isn’t long before he’s troubled by romantic distractions.

While the film’s heritage is evident, Bujalski has cleverly carved out something of a niche in his subjects and style. These are listless and literate twenty-somethings, almost like Whit Stillman’s debutantes inhabiting a different social sphere. The dialogue is organic, filled with pauses and stumbles that lend it an improvisational feel without sacrificing wit.

Shooting on 16mm black-and-white translates as a stylistic choice rather than a budgetary constraint for Bujalski. The grainy images are reminiscent of early Jarmusch and match the laid-back tone and pace perfectly.

Bujalski’s characters are not bohemians, hippies or slackers. They’re amiable, amusing and very watchable. All they need now is a catchy moniker.

Mutual Appreciation is screening on 21 and 23 August. See it for a fiver! Choose six films from either the State of Independents or Das Neu Wave selections for only £30. 

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