What’s On At The Tropic
By Phil Mann
You’ve got to love the tag line for SON OF RAMBOW, one of the Tropic’s new films this week: “Make believe, not war.” (Unlike the Bush/Cheney mantra: “Believe, make war.”) It’s the story of a friendship between a couple of young teens, a shy boy raised by religious fundamentalists who don’t even let him watch TV, and a wild and crazy school terror. Their inspiration: make a movie for the school contest based on Stallone’s Rambo: First Blood. There’s a little art imitates life going on, in that writer-director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith originally met as teenagers at a London art school. They formed a production company and worked their way about the filmmakers’ food chain, making music videos, commercials, and then The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy feature, before Rambow.
Unlike Hitchhiker’s Guide, which had a star cast including Mos Def and John Malkovich, Rambow’s cast is unknown kids doing what boys do best, acting like action heroes. You’ll also be surprised to know that Sly Stallone has approved the movie. "The fact that it was so heartwarming is the result of brilliant filmmaking by its creators," Stallone has said. Heartwarming?! from the lips of John Rambo himself.
The coming-of-age theme is also featured in the Italian film MY BROTHER IS AN ONLY CHILD. But these guys are not play-acting. The pals here are brothers deeply involved in Italian politics in the 1960-1970’s, one a Communist and the other a Fascist. Talk about sibling rivalry. Salon.com calls it “a grand entertainment that seems to pack in all the major themes of postwar European film and literature. We've got a working-class family, a misunderstood young man, communism and fascism, the Sexual Revolution, the student uprisings and their subsequent decay into paranoid revolutionary violence. All that, plus a couple of handsome leading men and a hilarious rewrite of the lyrics to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (i.e., Schiller's "Ode to Joy") so it's about Lenin, Trotsky and Mao.” For any European film fans, and I admit that I’m a sucker for them, this movie will be a great pleasure.
Have you been following the Tropic’s summer film classics series? Last week they showed Fritz Lang’s M, and this week it’s Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 masterpiece RASHOMON. The theme is well known: the same story from different viewpoints becomes different stories. There is now even a psychological term “the Rashomon effect” which refers to the way in which subjectivity colors perception. The movie has been called “the closest to perfect” a film can be, and it is celebrated for its innovative camera work. If there is any film worthy of the term “classic,” this is it. Monday at 7:45, only three bucks.
The PrideFest Film Festival is at the Tropic on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:00pm with two films, GAY SEX IN THE NINETIES and METH. The titles say it all. Both movies have mature content, and admission is free
More info at TropicCinema.com
[originally published in Key West, the Newspaper www.kwtn.com