It Came From Kuchar

By Ed 07/08/2010 Find Others: DVD, Movie, Review Get More: , ,

STUDIO: IndiePix | DIRECTOR: Jennifer M. Kroot | CAST: George Kuchar, Mike Kuchar, John Waters, Guy Maddin, Wayne Wang
RELEASE DATE: 6/29/2010 | PRICE: DVD $24.95
BONUSES: commentary, deleted and extended scenes, additional interviews
SPECS: NR | 86 min. | Documentary | 1.77:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital stereo

American “underground” cinema of the 1960s and 1970s is thought to be comprised of two things: obscure, somewhat forbidding non-narrative films of the sort created by Stan Brakhage and downtown NYC gabfests starring the Warhol “Factory” crowd. There was one wonderfully entertaining and sensory-assaulting alternative (besides the luminous musical works of Kenneth Anger), though: the films of the Kuchar brothers.

George and Mike Kuchar, twin brothers raised in the Bronx, started creating home-made melodrama, science-fiction adventures and demented slices of urban life on 8mm in the late 1950s and have kept on prolifically making movies right up to the present day. Documentarian Jennifer M. Kroot’s fast-moving It Came From Kuchar offers a biographical portrait of the brothers, as well as select short samples from their very entertaining and groundbreaking micro-budgeted work.

Kroot focuses on George more than Mike, as George is the more extroverted of the two, and his classes at the San Francisco Art Institute (where he has been teaching for close to four decades) provide ample evidence of his thorough knowledge of DIY methods of film production.

The documentary’s draw is talking-head testimony from the brothers’ many fans, who include Wayne Wang, Atom Egoyan, Guy Maddin, Buck Henry, Bill “Zippy the Pinhead” Griffith and, of course, the undergrounder who admittedly borrowed the most from their approach, John Waters.

Kroot’s documentary serves as a good introduction to the Kuchars for the uninitiated, but hopefully it will also serve to inspire DVD releases of their films. Out of the literally hundreds of short films and videos they’ve made as co-directors and as solo artists, only one DVD (Sins of the Fleshapoids) containing three of Mike’s films, is currently available.