Quirky? More like inventive, warm, and unlike anything else!
M. Hulot | New York City | 05/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Todd Rohal's strange and hilarious THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE played on the festival circuit for a couple years (where I first saw it and let me say it's one of the most out there indie films I've seen), earned a loyal cult following, and yet now that it's on home video as a wicked awesome 2 DVD set, it's still an underground surprise nobody knows about!!! I Googled what the the pros are saying about Benten Films' new DVD.
"One of the most inventive, most poetic, most disarmingly authentic indies of the last few years... Why was "Napoleon Dynamite," with its relatively stereotypical uber-misfit, a hit, while this 2006 daydream foundered out of sight?"
- Michael Atkinson, IFC NEWS
"We meet people with funny names and see images that make us laugh and snap the elastic of our underpants, but the root of this film's strength is the sad beauty of loneliness and loss that sneaks inside our heads when we lose our power... Subject now for discovery by ancillary markets, alternative distribution, word-of-mouth recommendation and happenstance exposure, I predict that this film will not only endure the savage b**** of festival rejection and media neglect, but will find itself the harness of inspiration for artists to come."
- David Gordon Green, director of PINEAPPLE EXPRESS
"Rohal manages a tone of vague melancholy (and a few laugh-out-loud offhand bits), and it's possible to see all the weirdness as an honest, sideways grasp at magic... a gorgeous 2-disc DVD from the new label Benten Films."
- Mark Asch, THE L MAGAZINE
"Here is a film that operates on the same logic that compelled Benjamin Franklin to recommend the turkey, rather than the eagle, as a symbol for the newly formed United States; it holds no illusions about itself, and its idea of majesty is decidedly against the grain."
- David Lowery, DRIFTING
"A revelation! THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE holds a place in my heart that is normally reserved for Easter candy."
- Jared Hess, director of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE"
Terrific Freshman Film from Rohal
Michael L. White | Westland, MI United States | 04/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Winner of the Grand Jury prize at Slamdance, this much-anticipated film by wunderkind Todd Rohal fulfills the promise of the writer/director's potential. Picking up where his short films, KNUCKLEFACE JONES (1999) and HILLBILLY ROBOT (2001) left off, THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE serves as another voyage into the creative and colorful mind of Rohal.
Starring Will Oldham as Donald Turnipseed, the singer/songwriter is absent through a good deal of the film, though his presence haunts nearly every scene. Donald has gone missing after an accident at a local power plant. All that's left of him is his father's funny little electric car--which changes hands more often than a novice poker player--memories of him, and his unborn child. Sadie (Sheila Scullin) is the baby's momma. She's going into her third trimester as an outcast from her family after her father, the off-kilter Ivan (Ivan Dimitrov), kicks her out of the house for being a slut. Never mind that Ivan has to use a short bus to transport his fourteen illegitimate daughters.
The film goes back and forth in time, focusing on a wide array of eccentric characters that live in anticipation, or dread, of a big demolition derby. Will Sadie drive Donald's father's car to victory? Will Ivan defeat her? Will Turkeylegs (Katy Haywood) ever be reunited with her friend Donald? Will Ethel Firecracker (Kathleen Kennedy) ever find her lost dog? These questions and more are woven into the rich fabric of THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE.
As to be expected from a Rohal film, nothing can be expected--with the exceptions that any boy scouts in the film will be malicious little punks and that the plot will follow logic of its own. THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE does not disappoint. It's a pleasure cruise of an independent film."
Josh Rothman | Montclair, NJ | 06/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this at the South Side Film Festival in Bethlehem, PA, and I've loved it ever since. I was so excited to see it come out on DVD, I had to get it right away!"
Orange 1981 Commuticar
Kenneth Hall | Cheyenne, WY USA | 06/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I injoyed this movie alot since I have an Orange 1981 Commuticar that I drive to work every warm day here in Cheyenne Wyoming. It was unbelievable that out of around 500 Commuticars produced in 1980 and 1981 that one just like mine would be featured in a movie. The movie was a bit strange at times but it had a lot of cute scenes. [...]"