But nothing I think is really going to hurt your enjoyment of the film if you're planning to go
First the film:
I've got to say I did find It is Fine! Everything is Fine interesting. Considerably more so than I expected. It's a piece of violent sexual fantasy shot in a style of exploitation cinema crossed with movie of the week stylings. If the movie of the week had been orchestrated by David Lynch.
The story presents as a sexual revenge fantasy of a sixty-something man with cerebral palsy. The writer and male lead is Steven C. Stewart who suffered with the condition - leading on to guess the rage expressed is at least partially auto-biographical. And understandable to a degree if one stop to think about it. He loves long hair on his women and in this fantasy gets all the beautiful long haired women he wants (and sometimes their daughters). Even though in the picture he still has cerebral palsy, and the related physical constraints he's written the character to be a super chick magnet. Though none of his physical ailments are presented as an impediment to mating success. For example all the ladies he meets can immediately understand him though it's in reality almost impossible to understand his speech. Meaning we're generally only able to follow half the dialog. The decision there to not subtitle the film is one I heartily agree with.
He beds the women. Kills the women - in increasingly ludicrous ways. Ostensibly because they threaten to cut their hair. I know we've a been there. Seriously.
It's certainly going to leave many viewers with a lot of things to talk about. One of the more obvious points is that in most films people with handicaps are almost always portrayed as good nice people. This one is a murderous misogynist bastard. So progress I guess - and from Glover's comments partly the intent of Stewart. There are also of course a series of increasingly vivid sexual conquests (of which at least one does not appear simulated) forcing viewers to question their perceptions of sexuality and the handicapped.
The production values clearly show some of the resource limitations of the production, and there are times it's shot in a style that perhaps is trying very hard, maybe too hard to be strange. To me not the masterpiece some folks feel it is. But especially with Glover in attendance to discuss the work's background and his relationship with the writer star of the film Steven C. Stewart (who died shortly after shooting completed) it's a worthwhile experience. Though not an altogether pleasant one. Monday I'm hoping to see the first film of the trilogy What is It? which seems altogether more challenging. Hopefully back to report on that experience in a couple of days.
Almost forgot - there's a slideshow of Glover's books, which are marked up and richly illustrated older (presumably copyright expired) tomes. I'm not going to claim to be a perfect audience for avant-garde art. But to me it was not the best part of the evening.
The roadshow business model:
A few days ago I was lucky enough to interview Mr. Glover via email. Much of the content of his written answers made their way into his post show Q&A. If you haven't attended it's probably worth reading the interview through, though it is fairly long. I want to say up front that Glover is impressively willing to engage with fans in terms of time. He was very gracious and responsive in answering questions before coming to Seattle and held one of the most extensive Q&A's I've ever seen. The only thing coming close was when they practically had to drag Francis Ford Coppola off stage at SIFF. Which was another awesome story in and of itself. So I really respect Mr. Glover for trying to find a business model that works for him - even if I have some disagreement with some of his points.
The conversation I had with him got me thinking ahead of seeing the film about the business model he's pursuing to distribute this and the related self-funded film What is it? In part to think things through a bit more I'm indulging myself the remainder of the post to riff on them out-loud.
One one hand it seems Glover organically arrived at a great strategy to sell one scarce resource associated with the film - time with Crispin Glover and signed copies of his illustrated books. But on the other hand I wonder if his concerns about "piracy" might actually be constraining his success. Or at least the rate he could charge for the scare resources associated with the films. While putting the movies out on DVD would likely create some unauthorized copies it would bring at least some incremental income and increase the fan base for the live events he's already doing. Perhaps all the fans he'll get already are aware of him. But that seems unlikely. And something tells me that people who would be fans of this sort of unusual work would want the opportunity to watch Glover live and own an authorized/signed copy - perhaps packaged with one of his books.
If nothing else that might keep him from worrying about the chain of custody of his film materials and not getting screwed on the gate...(as described in the interview)
Corrosive corporate influences on film
As mentioned above I am looking forward now to seeing the next film (technically the first in the trilogy). A script about I'm unsure what. Glover describes one of his principal intents of What is it? to be a statement against limiting influence brought by corporate money in filmmaking. In this case it's also specifically a backlash against unstated corporate interests didn't want to invest in the script that originally formed the basis for What is it? In his words at least in part upon his assistance that all the characters be played by actors with Down's Syndrome. That may be because corporations shy away from all taboo (as he put it). But it seems equally like the chance of people every getting their money back seemed to be pretty sketchy with his plan.
I'm definitely fan of the visual arts. And of unusual films. I just don't think it's entirely fair to blame people investing in films to be unwilling to take a chance on a project described like that. Especially in an era many years ago where Glover's track record was thinner. Given that Glover continues to tour with the films in a controlled way in part to pay back the expensive (but perhaps not expensive enough) production that makes it seems these investors may have been right. Again - that's not at all saying that such films shouldn't be made. It's just that to me making a film like Who is it? seems more a philanthropic effort than a commercial one. There's a place for that too IMHO. Just unsure anyone has a right for investment of other people's money to cover it.
Thankfully it seems to me that if you want to make experimental extremely non-mainstream / non-commercial films the falling costs of compute power, cameras, and Internet distribution are reducing the barrier to creating such art and reaching an audience. I agree with Glover's comment that it's unclear how digital distribution will fall out in terms of traditional pay to watch business models. But I can't imagine that that dropping gates to entry and reduction of the need to "ask permission" if you're not rich enough to buy film stock for your production will likely lead to more people creating and coming up with unique business models. Particularly ones that figure out on how to capitalize on scarce resources around a film.
And if you don't believe me - did I really donate $100 towards post production on Emily Hagins' new film My Sucky Teen Romance on indiegogo.com a few weeks ago because I thought it was vital to the universe the film get out there? Or because I wanted the t-shirt? Something tells me Emily is less concerned with the answer than she is happy her fundraising goals to finish her film were hit. So I do have some hope for the future of indy film. Experimental and teen vampire related both...