available online and pretty damn unsafe for work). Maybe I'm sheltered. In my defense I feel I could see that particular concept working, it's just this particular one didn't make me swoon. Anyways ... I'm sure each of the things I've seen has an audience somewhere, in keeping with one interpretation of the the thousand monkeys, a thousand years theorem. But until Friday night I hadn't found one that just floored me.
Friday is when I was contacted by Jared Varava the director of a little short called Tumbleweed! which was a dead on match for my own peculiar tastes. First off it's a film titled with an exclamation point - which regular readers may remember I have a soft spot for. That had me watching with higher than usual expectations. Could've gone badly but I'm super glad I checked it out, because it totally made my night.
Described simply as "The true and historically accurate tale of one tumbleweed that did not tumble," I'm confident it's going to be a high point in the Texas Short Competition at SXSW. I fully loved it. Funny and beautiful is pretty rare - but Tumbleweed! nailed it.
I laughed out loud. Only to be hooked at the end by its subtle meditation on individualism and optimism of the explorer mindset. Take that last part as ironic if one chooses - the film still works, but for once I decided not too. With a seamless vintage look Tumbleweed! (as promised) tells the entirely (perhaps not) historically accurate history of the discoverer of the tumbleweed and one of the species' dissidents. It's a tight seven minutes that I'm hoping will make it's way to a screening opportunity near you sooner rather than later. Seriously, how can one not be smitten by a film that while describing the definition of the tumbleweed genus remarks that a key feature is the tumbling? And as such "a tumbleweed that does not tumble is merely a weed. And as everyone knows the weed is the most despicable of all the good lord's vegetation." Given that it's no surprise that the single tumbleweed that is still has drawn the ire of the tumbleweed community.
The closest (and it's not really that close) thing to compare it to is the excellent short film by Ramin Bahrani about a plastic bag that's narrated by Werner Herzog. My only regret is that I don't have a clip to share at present. Jared related the difficulties in cutting a trailer for a 7 minute short, and I think that's a fair point. Please just trust me and checkout this film if you're at SXSW. Everyone else - I promise to post an update if and when the film makes it's way onto a more accessible platform. In the meantime you can watch some of the other films from the talented Varava brothers on their site. Bicentennial Curious is looking rather promising so far.