Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Hole Story|
Actors: Alex Karpovsky, Mayor James Walleen, Babe Winkleman
Director: Alex Karpovsky
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Studio: Cinema Libre Studio Release Date: 09/25/2007 Run time: 52 minutes
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An intriguing experiment that nearly works, but ends up as s
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 10/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The cover of this dvd is plastered with quotations suggesting a really exciting new filmmaker is on the horizon, comparable to Ross McElwee and Werner Herzog. Such comparisons are not totally off, partly for the reason that the film obviously and very deliberately cultivates them. The filmmaker, Karpovsky, wants to make a pilot for a series about weird regional happenings -- and it seems as though he really did want to make this pilot (and only later turned his film into something of a fake-umentary -- I don't think "mockumentary" fits because the primary aim doesn't seem to be mockery, though that ends up as a secondary aim when the more serious ambitions start to fail) -- and picks a lake in a small town in Michigan where a massive "black hole" has mysteriously appeared in a lake that by all rights should be thoroughly frozen. He gets there with a small dedicated crew and it turns out the hole is no longer, it is now frozen. Of course, this should be disappointing, this should be the end but Karpovsky, as we are meant to discover, is no ordinary filmmaker but an obsessive filmmaker who will turn the most pitiful failure into a triumph. The initial hope that the hole would reappear is frustrated, and he initially considers "cheating it" -- getting people to talk about the hole in present tense, using trick photography to make it appear to be there. Eventually he starts to feel as though the very non-presence of the hole is itself a mystery -- a hole would be an ordinary mystery but a hole that closes itself up just before a film crew arrives to capture it seems like the product of a trickster god, a god who is perhaps even challenging Karpovsky to persevere in spite of it all, etc.
I like the idea of making a failed project into an exciting personal documentary, but the problem is that as Karpovsky's obsessions deepen it becomes more and more obviously a mockumentary, and his soapbox preaching to himself on camera late at night in the bathroom doesn't feel like the genuine self-exploration of, say, Ross McElwee in Sherman's March (a film Karpovsky had obviously seen and emulated) or like the wild and compelling metaphysical ramblings of Herzog in many of his films, but more like an only partially successful attempt to sound kind of like those guys. The concern is not so much that Karpovsky's film comes too late -- that it might have worked had it come first -- it is that, while Karpovsky himself stays in character (perhaps until a few scenes towards the end when he really overacts and feels really false), the story as a whole just doesn't feel genuine, and yet I really think it wants to feel genuine, and it is only occasionally funny, and yet it really wants to be funny.
All of the above, I should say, are intended merely as an honest reaction to a film that had some potential, and to a filmmaker who could easily go on to make better films. It is a good first film, a kind of ambitious and worthy but ultimately, in my eyes, failed experiment. I would even recommend the film, especially to young filmmakers who are considering a first, ambitious project. I hope, also, that it is the first of many experiments by this interesting and obviously intelligent filmmaker."