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Elisabeth Bartlett is blogging the festival scene from Cannes to Los Angeles.
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MENTHOL: Mumblecore at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Director Micah Van Hove and cast of "Menthol."

If you ever wondered if it would be interesting if you recorded your friends partying the answer is… kind of. Mumblecore is defined by Urban Dictionary as “A genre of independent films in which the characters are involved in a personal crisis. Known for their realistic point of view, these movies are the eyes of the just-out-of-college generation.” As we sat down for the full-house world premiere of MENTHOL at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, I felt like I was back in college. The hometown crowd called out to each other. “Hey man, how’s it going?...I heard Micah was making a movie!” MENTHOL aired as part of the Santa Barbara Features category at the festival. 

Props to Micah Van Hove, for making a movie that feels very natural to watch. Thirty minutes in, not much had happened besides a bunch of conversation, but you are so comfortable you feel like you’re a part of the movie, hanging out with the characters. You're enjoying hanging out, and you wonder what will happen next, maybe in even sort of a voyeuristic way. Maybe it’s even comfortable to watch because these remind you of conversations you have with your friends. The film has a slow and steady pace. Some shots are so long you are forced to reflect on what’s happening within the frame, the scene, the character's mind. 

"Life seems to lose some of its color when we get trapped in routines. I wanted the photography to feel distant, bored, passive. I didn’t want the camera to be having as much fun as its subjects" says Van Hove in an interview with the Santa Barbara Independent.

The lack of plot seems to be the point. Apathy. Tragedy happens when the friend we’ve seen partying the hardest takes the wheel at the end of the night. Really? Can’t one of the other friends drive?

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About Elisabeth

Bartlett Elisabeth
Blogging about the festival scene from Los Angeles

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