PICKLE -- the delightful and profound little 16-minute short by Amy Nicholson (shown below) starring her fascinating parents, Tom and Debbie Nicholson -- is such a must-see that it rather puts in the shade the perfectly OK feature film, GIRL ASLEEP, with which it shares the bill. What a blessing that the U.S. distributor of both, Oscilloscope Laboratories, saw fit to place both on the same bill -- which, together, adds up to 93 minutes of fun, frolic and food for thought.
Don't mistake my words here; there's not a trace of terk-jerking or pushing buttons. Just tales of animal rescue that are bizarre, funny, appealing and rather amazing, too -- beginning with a Perdue chicken (no doubt going off to slaughter) who falls off the back of a truck and becomes Debbie's first rescue. As these tales pile up, they become a kind of pet lover's dream (or worst nightmare).
GIRL ASLEEP, a coming-of-age tale about a misfit high-school girl, Greta (Bethany Whitmore, at right and below), who is just about to celebrate her fifteenth birthday. Her family is concerned but not very helpful (in fact, by arranging a birthday party for their daughter to which they invite her entire class, they just about do her in). She has no friends except for one dorky boy, Eliott (Harrison Feldman, below, left) who maybe has a crush on her -- or perhaps simply knows when he sees another nerd in need.
Matthew Whittet and directed by Rosemary Myers (shown below), the movie is written and filmed with a kind of clever, deadpan stylization that takes things into a slightly surreal realm -- but not so far that reality topples.
WeinerDog, Dawn, of Todd Solondz fame. Greta, despite her wanderings into fantasyland, is a good deal more centered and strong. Even if she does not yet realize that fact. (Those are her three biggest school nemeses, below.)
Oscilloscope Laboratories, this smart double bill opens this Friday, September 23, in Los Angeles at the Landmark NuArt, and the following Friday, September 30, in New York City at the Landmark Sunshine. Over the weeks to come, the two films will play all across the country. Here in South Florida, you can see them in Miami at the Bill Cosford Cinema, beginning October 7. To view all currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters listed, click here and then click on SCREENINGS.