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DNKraljacic - Dex


Comments on some recent movies that are not widely available... from the standpoint of a filmmaker, screenwriting professor, and a film critic and scholar.

Dejan Nikolaj Kraljacic is a regular filmfestivals.com contributor


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LOWLIFE - World premiere at Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival 2017

LOWLIFE (USA, 2017, 96 min)

directed by: Ryan Prows; written by: Ryan Prows, Tim Cairo, Jake Gibson, Shaye Ogbonna, Maxwell Michael Towson; cast: Mark Burnham, Nicki Micheaux, Jon Oswald, Ricardo Adam Zarate, Santana Dempsey, Shaye Ogbonna, Jose Rosete…

Despite a currently pretty much tedious so called independent scene of the United States, stellar Montreal international film festival FanTasia, like every year, managed to find a few worthy pieces. The best of all was a highly energetic and clever debut feature film of Ryan Prows (one of the five writers of the movie) which has competed among 16 others for the FanTasia Grand Prix award - Cheval Noir, and ended up with Special Mention Jury Prize, and the 2nd Best North American, South American, or European Feature Film Audience Award.

Lowlife intersects stories of: fallen hero El Monstruo (a luchador with an iconic mask of the famous Mexican patron of the poor, passed down from generation to generation) and his pregnant wife, a former (?) drug addict; a middle-aged women (convincing Nicki Micheaux) who is trying to provide her alcoholic husband with a kidney transplant (turns out that the "available" kidney supposed to come from the preceding pregnant woman); a prison returnee with the Swastika tattooed over his face yet who is all but a Nazi (superb Jon Oswald) and his black friend... Apart from poverty, linking force between them is a brutal cartel organ smuggler played by Mark Burnham which gave an impressive performance (unforgettable cop from Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong, 2012, and Wrong Cops, 2013).

Lowlife delivers all ideals of the FanTasia concept: bold and confident filmmaking that deals with a socially engaged topic, freshness and inventiveness in its approach, highly dynamic piece charged with an intense conflict that involves a great cast… and all that executed on a tight budget; it's enough to say that the film was shot in only 18 days. So, it comes as no surprise to hear comments of some critics and specialists such as: Lowlife might be the most serious world premiered movie at the Fantasia in recent years, or, that’s what cinema is all about.

Altogether, a few questions remain: how come that prestigious non-genre film festivals around the world are not acknowledging the existence of brave movies such as this one, and race to show them?  Why Lowlife still doesn’t have a theatrical distributor? What can we expect from the next Prow’s project? And finally, how is it possible that Mark Burnham, a skillful and charismatic actor whose performance(s) resemble some of the most memorable of the classical and early post-classical Hollywood, is not already well-known in the contemporary American cinema? Anyhow, this is a must see movie!

 

 

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About DNKraljacic - Dex

Kraljacic Dejan Nikolaj

Dex wrote, directed and produced almost a dozen shorts and documentaries, including award-winning pieces (such as a short Balkan Blues and documentary Shattered Dreams) since the mid-1990s.

Co-wrote the Huddersfield feature film that was awarded for best screenplay of the year in Serbia (2007). Since the late 1990s, have been working in the advertising field, was a film program director, cinema books publisher, staged an original comedy in theatre, and dealt with film criticism (a member of FIPRESCI). An associate professor of screenwriting at Academy of Arts University of Novi Sad, Serbia, a Raindance / Staffordshire University postgraduate degree film program mentor (UK/Canada - worldwide (online)). Holds a Ph.D. in film studies. Very fond of comic books.

For more detaiils, or to take a look: https://vimeo.com/46440804


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