'Giuseppe Makes a Movie' an oddly compelling look at odd auteur

'Giuseppe Makes a Movie' a weirdly compelling look at a weirdly compelling auteur

More ragtag video diary than incisive feature documentary, "Giuseppe Makes a Movie" takes a swift, at times riotous walk on the wild side with the ultimate independent filmmaker, Giuseppe Andrews. Never heard of him? Let's just say this guy's cinematic oeuvre makes the early output of John Waters and Andy Warhol look like the work of François Truffaut.

Directed by Adam Rifkin ("The Dark Backward"), the doc is set around the making of Andrews' 2007 trash opus "Garbanzo Gas." It involves, of all things, a cow given a weekend pass from the slaughterhouse.

Rifkin introduces us to the wildly fringy world of the Ventura-based Andrews; his dad and devoted producer — and onetime Bee Gees guitarist — "Big Ed"; and their stock company of so-called actors. These "performers," who go by such names as Vietnam Ron, Sir "Bigfoot" George and Spit, are an array of marginalized folks including the homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts and ex-cons.

Working for booze, fast food and a few bucks, they're fed their nonsensical, often über-foul dialogue by Andrews as he points, shoots and races on. ("Garbanzo" was proudly filmed in two days.)

Giuseppe and Ed's coastal trailer park, a cheap motel, the beach and other local spots serve as run-and-gun locations for these shoestring pictures. Rifkin calls them "spectacles of the grotesque" whose titles include "Trailer Town," "Tater Tots" and "Jacuzzi Rooms."

Although the brashly engaging Andrews, a former teen actor ("Independence Day," Rifkin's "Detroit Rock City") and self-described outsider, leaks the sporadic factoid about his life, we learn little about his personal past or present, how his no-budget movies are financed, seen or distributed, and in general, how he survives.

Still, this is a weirdly compelling look at a weirdly compelling auteur.

"Giuseppe Makes a Movie."

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes.

Playing: Landmark's Nuart, West Los Angeles.

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