Directed by: Justine Genevieve
Starring: Bob Albrecht and Justine Genevieve
Short Film Review by: Annie Vincent
Lowbrows: an arthouse film about a tiny bar in a tiny town in Texas. Outsider Justine has inherited half of the Lowbrows bar and moves into it with Bob, the other owner. As she settles into her new home, she explores the local community and uncovers a hive of humanity in all its madness and diversity. Charming, if experimental? Yes, just as we might hope an art house film would be. Utterly peculiar, egotistical and protracted? Also yes!
By the time you reach the end of this movie, you will have found a nugget of charm. It is difficult not to (eventually) take a liking to the man who coaches his ducks in aerodynamism, or the French woman who tends her dying vines each day. The difficulty is in actually reaching the end of the movie, which at an hour and a half with limited plot progression feels very long. Perhaps this is a reflection of the slow-moving South, but perhaps it is also egotism, as this piece of meta-cinema screams loud and clear that it is the pride and joy of its writer, Genevieve. Whatever the reason, there’s limited material to keep the film interesting for a run time of ninety minutes.
Sadly, the quality of production in this film doesn’t go over well. ‘But its an art house film: it’s meant to be rough around the edges’, I hear the art house fans cry. Not every film needs to be made in Hollywood: polished until it shines and then covered in lip-gloss. But it does need to be audible and the sound quality here is often very poor, with some lines completely silenced by a piece of background music or a passing train and it doesn’t ‘all add to the humour’ at all. It detracts from it completely. The camerawork is also amateur with the tops of heads regularly cut off and tracking wobbly, though the fast-motion sequences, reminiscent of the old black and white comedies are endearing.
Some of the gags are also amusing. Bob Albrecht is a complete natural on screen and a breath of fresh air against the conceit of the script, especially when he stuffs his lines occasionally, and the soundtrack is pleasing.
There may be many an arthouse comedy fan lining up to see this one, and there’s no doubt they’ll derive some charm from it, but it’s unlikely to draw a wider audience that will see it through to its end.