Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dance Party USA

After hearing about Dance Party USA I was interested in watching it, so I ordered from the filmmaker. I like supporting other filmmakers, and am always interested in new work that seems to get noticed. Dance Party USA is about Gus (Cole Pensinger) a 17 year old who always seems to brag about sex in a graphic and misogynistic way. It isn’t until he meets Jessica (Ana Kavan) that Gus begins his transformation from crass ladykiller to sensitive boyfriend. Aaron Katz directed & wrote this film and he does have an ear for naturalistic dialogue. Dance Party occasionally has its young actors talk about life, or sometimes they don't talk about life. The film isn't afraid of long, silent takes, and maybe that’s where I had a problem with it. Dance Party captures that feeling of aimless youth wandering the landscape, but there is a fine line between naturalistic dialogue & being dull. Did I care enough about the characters to see them through the film, and I’d have to say I fast forward some of the long drawn out pauses in the story.

Aaron Katz has made a very interesting & dynamic film, but one wonders if it would have made a more dynamic short. The film was budgeted at 3 K, and Katz shows a lot of ingenuity with his limited budget. The film was filmed in and around Portland, Oregon where the filmmaker is originally from. It was also shot on digital video. The cinematography by Sean McElwee is stellar, and you really get a feel of the protagonist’s surroundings. I was inspired by watching the film. Dance Party USA is a good example on what you can do with a minimal budget. I don’t regret at all buying the DVD, and hope that the film finds proper distribution. Maybe his target audience are the very teens he writes about. Along with the music within the film I would think that a much younger audience would be interested in Dance Party USA.

Still I look forward to more of Katz’s work and hope to see more from this unique filmmaker. Only time will tell, but Katz is only 22 years old so I figure he has a lot of good work ahead of him.

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