My Crasy Life (1992)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB

/USA, 1992. . Cinematography by . Produced by , . Music by . Film Editing by .

Experimental filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin, best known for his earlier collaborations with Jean-Luc Godard, makes his last (to date) feature film with this quasi-documentary that earned him a Special Jury Prize at Sundance for artistic excellence. He combines factual footage with scripted scenes, some of which aren’t that obvious, as he goes into a predominantly Samoan community in Long Beach, California and trains his camera on the neighbourhood’s street gangs. The various personalities that take up screen time express their values and aspirations in interviews, detail the importance of their cultural heritage and even take part in dramatic re-enactments that take us to Honolulu and American Samoa.

What results is something that defies expectations to the point that it’s hard to know what’s really going on, certainly it’s refreshing to see a film about rough characters living rough lives that isn’t exploiting them as an opportunity to celebrate their misery, but what Gorin finds in their joyful camaraderie is also hard to glean. The artistic flights of fancy that Gorin indulges himself in are interesting but don’t help form a cohesive picture, among the more unusual is the talking computer in a cop’s car that reads off random facts and musings like a real-life Kitt from Knight Rider. Eventually you give up hoping that all these disparate elements will take you to a satisfying climax, and most of this film is a very boring experience.

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