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Notes from underground

By PETER KEOUGH  |  June 27, 2007

Sometimes it takes a village, though, even one that seems at first glance composed of idiots, or at least eccentrics. The debut film from Randy Walker and Jennifer Shainin, APART FROM THAT (2006; July 1 at 8:45 pm and July 3 at 7 pm, with Walker and Shainin present), elevates the goofy enigmas and the multi-narrative style of Napoleon Dynamite and The Guatemalan Handshake to a new level. The binding theme is, inevitably, the failure to connect: Ulla (Kathleen McNearney), the pretty, blonde hair-styling student, can’t connect with Peggy (Alice Ellingson), her elderly landlady, even though she makes mocking recordings of Peggy’s daily noises. Peggy can’t connect with anyone, even though she calls in false alarms to the fire department and waits naked for them to arrive. Leo (Tony Cladoosby) refuses to visit his dying son, but he copes by collecting odds and ends to make into a “sculpture.” And so on. Halloween is approaching, and the way things work in this kind of film, there will be more tricks than treats. As Independence Day approaches for us, I can’t think of any better way of celebrating than by enjoying these movies.

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