Originality is in short enough supply anywhere in the film world to be considered a vanishing resource. So, it's worthy of note when one of the freshest and most startlingly innovative films in recent memory turns out to be by a UCLA film student, included in a program of five short works to be shown at 8 tonight, at Melnitz Theatre on campus. (To make that statement fairly, I'd also have to mention the sleek and masterly puppet animation from Britain's Atelier Konick, which I saw recently at the U.S. Film Festival in Park City, Utah. However, the British film is professionally produced and presumably well-budgeted.)
"The Grand Poseur" by Adam Dubov, a broad satiric whack at corporate America, is a half-hour film of staggering imagination and execution which reportedly took five years to make. You can see among its influences bits of "Metropolis," Cyrano de Bergerac, the Paul Taylor Dancers, the Muppets' Bert and Ernie, Robin Hood, the underground comics of the 1970s and that all-purpose influencer, "Blade Runner"--yet none of this list is meant to take away from Dubov's own brash and peculiarly endearing vision, nor his wild and whacked-out sense of humor.
With the use of whole-head masks, he has made his actors into life-size cartoon characters, put them in forced-perspective backgrounds, part fun house, part German Expressionism and set it all to his own original music. Sure, some of it is college humor, but with a mind this whirlingly inventive, you forgive a lot.
"Organ Lords" by Duane Dell'Amico is next best, a brooding sci-fi mood piece using Exene Cervenka as mother to a Caliban-like son (Bo Foxworth). She supplies black market organs for transplant; he scouts possible donors, willing or not. Technically challenging, very well directed, it is occasionally murky in its story line.
The rest of the program includes a Middle Ages parable, "The Minstrel's Song" by Chris Hopkins; a meditation on What It's All About called "The Scheme of Things" by Audrey Wells, and "The Suicide King" by Tyler Bensinger. Draw the veil and hope for a stronger slate next time. But do not let Dubov escape your attention.