Friday, May 2, 2008

Tribeca Diaries #7: The Autuer

WARNING: This is a salty-languaged review, by necessity.

Writer/Director James Westby has certainly gotten off the most raucously received movies at the 2008 TriBeCa Film Festival with The Autuer. This brilliantly-constructed pastiche of mockumentary and true narrative storytelling posits the existance of Auturo Domingo, the world's foremost director of hardcore porn, the Kubrick of cum. Played with showy apulmb by Melik Malkasian (who has Kubrick's intense eyes), Domingo is followed from a child who simultaneously discovered copies of both Cahiers Du Cinema and Hustler under his father's bed to his meteoric rise to the top as a student filmmaker with Five Easy Nieces to his hustling days as a top industry force with such titles under his belt as Broadway Danny's Ho's, Snatch Adams, Requiem for a Wet Dream and the controversial Full Metal Jackoff.

It's so stunning how the film begins at the comically-named porno house the Clinton, as we see a film festival audience consuming a documentary about Domingo titled All That Jizz. This portion of the movie is shot with a theater procenium around the main image's edges; this is something I've never seen done at such length before--a shorthand to let you know we're getting two movies in one. When it comes to the rest of the film, it's suprisingly sweet as it explores the relationship between Domingo and both his estranged best friend, porno star Frank E. Normo (an energetic John Breen) and his true love, a fresh-faced vision named Fiona (the beautiful Katherine Flynn).

But amongst the sweetness, you get loads and loads of other things. Like lots of glimpses of great tits (yum!) or Auturo carefully instructing an actor how to eat pussy, or a run-in with a dreadlocked killer-pot dealer hilariously named Friend (Michael Fetters). Or amped-up clips from Frank E. Normo's popular cable show Let's Get Fucked and Domingo's taken-in-stride clashes with a nasty fast-talking concierge (Katie O'Grady). But nothing will prepare anyone for this movie's climax. You can read between the lines, if you like, but you'll never see it coming. Or, on second thought, maybe you will.

The movie is shot with vibrant color by Alan Jacobsen and scored with a melifulous blend of accordian and piano by Jason Wells. It's also peppered with fantastic inside film jokes (only Kubrick fans will get the reference to a famous photo of Kubrick playing chess with George C. Scott, for instance, or Auturo's donning of a Kubrick-style parka). Made with love and care, The Autuer is a comedy that, despite its audience-limiting subject matter, will certainly find its more adventurous and less-easily offended fans, cum hell or high water.

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