Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

Audiences chew on a film-fest twofer: Central Standard's indie films and Sound Unseen's musical movies



Oak Street Cinema, Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

"Saudade do Futuro"
Courtesy Laterit Productions
"Saudade do Futuro"

Onstage, the diminutive, flint-faced bluegrass legend of the title shows about as much emotion as the Clinch Mountains of his childhood home. But as this documentary reveals, the old man's music is full of life. Check out his duet with Patty Loveless: As Stanley kicks it off with an ancient bluegrass incantation, she simply stares at him, tears welling in her eyes. Though the film's framing and editing are less than expert, that rather suits the down-home subject: The Ralph Stanley Story is like a home movie showing the man a-pickin' and a-frownin' throughout a career that has spanned more than 50 years. If you love the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, see the story of the man whose spare, ardent music served as its template. --Michael Metzger



Oak Street Cinema, Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

This documentary initially sounds like a case study from some Pat Buchanan conversion experiment: A lesbian punk rocker is transformed into a wholesome Tupperware saleswoman. But androgynous folk singer Phranc doesn't just educate people about how to keep their week-old Brussels sprouts fresh and their ice-cube trays free from fishy stench: This particular homemaker once toured with the Smiths, prefers to wear a bow tie on her sales expeditions, and has the kind of impeccable flattop haircut that could get a girl expelled from the Army. All of which makes Lifetime Guarantee an unusual look at a woman who at once eschews the cookie-baking feminine ideal and embraces the responsibilities--childcare, cooking, hostessing--that come with it. If only Martha Stewart looked as good in a suit. (The film screens on a double bill with Thoth, reviewed below.) --Melissa Maerz



Oak Street Cinema, Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Does that loincloth-clad Central Park street musician--the one singing opera in a made-up language while running in place and playing the violin--have an interesting story to tell? Of course he does. But let's thank Oscar-winning director Sarah Kernochan for telling it well here. Thoth, as he calls himself, says he seeks forgiveness from his ancestors in the faces of onlookers. His sin? He didn't accept the presence of those elders in himself. Hence this homosexual man of Jewish and African-American heritage, whose early experiences of prejudice made him introverted and sad, greets every opportunity to perform as a family reunion. The upside is that he's hugely talented--a fact that makes his ardent strangeness (like the movie itself) both confounding and beguiling. (Thoth screens on a double bill with Lifetime Guarantee, reviewed above.) --Peter S. Scholtes



Oak Street Cinema, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, September 25 at 9:30 p.m.

Now here's an idea: a film about the art and history of human beat-box music--that overlooked and often joked-about tradition of making drum noises and other instrumental sounds with the mouth. And here's an even better idea: a film that's as fun and irreverent as its subject matter, packed with goofy animation and, yes, scenes of guys making funny sounds, which tell us more than all the Doug E. Fresh and Fat Boys interviews in the world (though they're here, too). Director Joey Garfield understands the fundamentally hilarious and cinematic nature of his material, and pulls no punches. The result is freewheeling, informative, outrageous, and never less than fascinating. (It screens along with the short film "The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal," reviewed below.) --Bilge Ebiri



Oak Street Cinema, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, September 25 at 9:30 p.m.

Rothko and Malevich: iconic artists or aesthetic forerunners of graffiti art removal? Matt McCormick would insist that they're both. In this short film, the Oregonian director argues that people who paint over graffiti do so in geometric designs that subconsciously mirror the abstract art of the mid-20th Century. Capturing aerosol tags that have been ghosted off concrete walls, buses, and bridges, he creates a poignant city symphony of accidental art. But against the film's eerily minimalist musical score, narrator (and fellow Portland artist) Miranda July's voiceover is simply irritating. Good thing McCormick's haunting images speak for themselves. (The film screens along with the feature-length Breath Control, reviewed above.) --Melissa Maerz



Heights Theater, Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Released to theaters only a year before another color purple put Minneapolis on the map, this Twin Cities-made melodrama likewise tells of a longhaired loner from a troubled family. (And it, too, is haunted by the spirit of Hendrix.) But Purple Haze is set in '68, so the protagonist, named Caulfield (Peter Nelson), smokes a lot of weed and stands eligible for the draft--and not much else. Writing in the New York Times in 1983, Vincent Canby complained that the movie "isn't good enough to be called a rip-off" of another young Caulfield's coming of age. The critic may have been a fuddy duddy, but he had a point: Failing to earn its homage though historical insight, Purple Haze now harks back mainly to the days when indie filmmakers could still afford to license classic rock. --Rob Nelson

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