Marty’s House

…starts out as an experimental film with long one-shot scenes using slow, choppy movement reminiscent of early cinema. We see mostly reds and blown out whites. The psychedelic, post-rock music pulls the viewer into the dream imagery. A stagely-looking man leads a woman through his house in a daze. We feel out of time, like watching the past through a sunset puddle. She passes out after looking in the bathroom mirror. The man places her in a seat in his eclectic, cluttered yard, adding her to his collection. He drinks a deep, red staining liquid from his wine glass. It almost looks like blood. He pours the liquid in her mouth and…

...an eclectic cinema verite about a man's passion for his belongings.
…an eclectic cinema verite about a man’s passion for his belongings.

She laughs?

The frame rate changes. Dialogue comes in. The camera shakes. What’s going on?

The dream imagery comes back with side on shots as the man dresses, then drives away from his house. The shadows retain color as everything else blows out into white.

The style finally lapses into amateur, cellphonic documentatary as the man talks to a woman in her store. From this point on, the film stays in documentary mode as the man, Marty, talks about his house, his aggregation of stuff, and his financial troubles. At one point, Marty mentions dismantling and rebuilding his bathroom, much like how the director builds and dismantles the style of the piece.

The different parts of this piece all work on their own, but clash when combined. The documentary segments lack polish. The mood and vision of the experimental segments do not transfer to the later portions of the film. The limited color palette and bleach bypass help establish Marty in the experiment, but become bad film making choices in the documentary (blown-out highlights, bad audio, muffling car traffic, subjects talking to the camera operator).

We seeing a lot of Dogme 95 in this piece… Handheld camera, sync sound, and natural’ish lighting. Specifically Harmony Korine and Lars von Trier. We also see an homage to Jack Smith and Grey Gardens, where the viewer is in the documentee’s environment, experiencing as they engage.

Marty’s House is stuck between two film styles that don’t easily mesh. This piece would work better if it stuck closer to one style. If this is documentary, is the viewer supposed to question Marty selling off his collection? If this is an experimental film, we don’t need the formal interviews and extraneous information, we can just walk with Marty.

You can check out clips of Marty’s House and other works from Marshmallow Press Productions at their Vimeo page. http://vimeo.com/marshmallowpress

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