While not the best film I saw during the festival Adam Green’s Aladdin captures the place of film at an arts festival at a fundamental level: showcasing unusual and creative projects in an atmosphere prepared to consider them for what they are.
Green’s take on Aladdin may be fairly described as a cross between Kanye West’s ‘runaway’ short and a nostalgia critic skit. However, it deserves more credit than just being considered an overly self-indulgent music video. Similarly its acting is deliberately stunted, rather than just bad, to add to the absurdity and even the more puerile and unfunny aspects are, while still a stumbling block, not quite ‘Freddy Got Fingered’ bad.
From considering Green’s stated inspirations of ‘The Holy Mountain’ and ‘South Park’ you get a pretty good sense of the project: an absurd drama with intriguing visuals which at least tries to comment on life, but also unfortunately with a few too manyknob jokes.
As a film that is supposed to be “like a trip” it achieves the unreality found in psychedelics better than anything else I’ve ever seen. The scenery and props being almost entirely hand painted cardboard and papier-mâché gives the impression of a more grounded reality than similarly stylized animation could. However, Green’s masterstroke for achieving the correct degree of unreality was in overdubbing every voice. It has some good points when it touches on issues of gender inequality and the fear of modern technology, but the occasional sharp observation is lost behind the myriad lines that appear to think they’re smarter than they are.
The mixed quality of commentary can likely be traced to Green’s stated process of “I get pretty stoned and then write for a couple of hours”. Unfortunately blaming a misplaced sense of one’s own intelligence on getting high makes me worry for my own output but I’m not the one to judge that.
Faults aside – Green, as primarily a musician, acted as a gateway in considering film an attraction at an event with music as the traditional focus. Once film is recognized as more of a core experience then ,I hope, that the more traditional forms of it will achieve a better audience as I was disappointed that more people didn’t see Isabelle Sieb’s superb comedic short ‘Three Women Waiting for Death’.