Thursday, April 16, 2009

How to Be

The thing is, no one ever tells you how to be in your mid-20s. The usual recipe is you go off to college, you graduate, you get a job, you get married, you have kids. The part that no one tells you about is how to be when you come to a stop at the job part; and now you're stuck because marriage is nowhere in sight, and neither are the kids. I was a little lost in my mid-20s for exactly this reason. I had a degree and a good job, but no marriage prospects, and definitely no children. Eventually, I figured it out and got a lot more comfortable with myself and my direction, but it was a frustrating time.

Tonight I saw a movie that captured all the confusion, frustration and lost feeling I had in my mid-20s. The movie is How to Be, directed by Oliver Irving and starring Robert Pattinson. Of course, now I feel the need to admit that I was never quite as lost as the main character, Art; and my parents gave me a more than satisfactory upbringing, but still, I could empathize with the poor guy.

Initially I wasn't sure if I liked the movie because I felt like Art was too awkward, but then I realized that it was supposed to be that way. It is easy to see the Art is supposed to be awkward and uncomfortable to say the least, but for a lay-person in the film world, it is not easy to see that there's more to it than just the acting. It was Oliver Irving who added to the feeling--his choices in at times in lighting or at other times with the camera lens, combined with Art (the character) made the movie work.

Next, I have to admit that I didn't get there entirely on my own. I saw this at the California Independent Film Festival in Livermore tonight, and after the screening, Joe Hastings (composer) and Oliver Irving participated in a question-answer session. Oliver graciously answered questions and shared a lot of the behind-the-scenes information you rarely get to hear. I found it pretty cool that he shared tidbits like how he used a wide angle lens to create a certain effect when Art visits his childhood room; the bed size was an accident; scenes where actors play music and/or sing are entirely real, except for one guy; homage is paid to other movies through costuming or set design; etc.

Oliver Irving did a good thing when he made this movie. Not only did he give us a movie capturing the 20-something experience, but he made a true, independent film. It's quirky and low-budget, and that is an important movie-going experience. Plus, you get to watch this only via the film festival circuit before it releases on DVD. I highly recommend film festivals. This was my first one, and I loved every moment. The question-answer session led to some interesting insight, and the people there asked intelligent questions; their obvious knowledge and love of films improved my appreciation for this movie.

So, if you love independent films, go see How to Be. If you love British-anything, go see How to Be. If you love the comedies that make you think while you laugh, go see How to Be. By the way, the soundtrack is interesting too, and that is coming out on April 28. But please, don't order your copy through the How to Be website because I want more of a chance to have get one of the 250 autographed posters.

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