Around The Bay (#110 of 1)

Talking with Alejandro Adams, Part One

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Talking with Alejandro Adams, Part One
Talking with Alejandro Adams, Part One

[Editor's Note: Alejandro Adams's Babnik screens at UCLA's James Bridges Theater on Tuesday, October 12th at 7:30pm.]

When they write a history of Twitter, hopefully a footnote will be spared for Alejandro Adams, the first meaningful filmmaker to make himself known that way, at least in my book. Conventional wisdom says you should use Twitter to beg for followers, chronicle your production, spam your friends and hope they suck it up for the greater good of social networking's future. Adams took a different tack: he got in touch with only the critics he admired and asked them to watch his work after making it very clear (through a barrage of polemics, hilariously self-aggrandizing declarations and gnostic aphorisms) he was playing on a whole other level.

The movies, fortunately, are good too. Around The Bay isn't quite L'Enfance Nue, but it's not that far off either: childhood has rarely been this abrasive. Canary's a tougher watch; its sci-fi framework is deliberately difficult to follow, and its most impressive setpieces involve very realistic rooms of people all talking at the same time, making a mockery of the Altman ideal of floating in and out of one conversation to each other. Here, the cacophony is the goal in and of itself. Babnik is a whole other creature, a first leisurely and suddenly urgently twisty crime drama; the less you know, the better. And not knowing much won't be a problem: it may be months or years before you get a chance to see this, or Adams' other two films.

So why read this two-part e-mail exchange between me and Adams? I've never met him, but this is the kind of promotional collaboration/collusion I try to avoid; it's vaguely sketchy. But he's a fun guy to argue and correspond with, and I'm comfortable whoring for him a bit. What I've done here is chopped up our back-and-forth into something more or less structured; it's out of order and distorts the actual chronology, but that seems appropriate. In part one, we mostly talk about acting; in part two, we mostly talk about visuals. Digressions abound, as do faux-aggressive taunts. Enjoy.