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February 6, 2015 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Florida Man [vimeo]

How a Mushroom Trip Led Sean Dunne to Make a Film About Everything and Nothing: [Interview with Sean Dunne].
"It’s about the struggle. More than any of my previous work I really wanted Florida Man to open us up and gain permission from our audience to get loose and make films that aren’t necessarily about any one thing. In the process I feel like we made a film that is kind of about everything. We purposely set out to make a film that was hard to describe, a film that you have to experience, something that transcends the current confines of this beautiful medium. If viewers feel like they were there with us, like they were laughing with Florida Man, not at him, then we’ve done our job. Well-made documentaries, in my opinion, should leave you feeling introspective, not judgmental, not above the subject, but one with them. That’s what we were trying to accomplish with Florida Man."
posted by Fizz (13 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Fizz at 9:53 AM on February 6, 2015

I watched this just last night. A little laughing, a lot of sadness.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 10:03 AM on February 6, 2015

drugs and mental illness, like everywhere else.
posted by sibboleth at 10:15 AM on February 6, 2015

Got about ten minutes into it this morning before I had to stop. I did appreciate the cinematography -- I mean, damn, cameras have come a long way. To look so crisp and sharp in such low light, it's amazing. But I have a really tough time stomaching any kind of art that veers too far into the realm of poverty gawking. My initial, visceral reaction to this is to just scream ITS NOT A FUCKING ZOO at this guy. Maybe that's misplaced anger. I'll have to think on it.

To me, this doesn't hold a candle to Morris's Vernon, Florida, another documentary that points the camera at a collection of "Florida Men," turns it on, and lets it roll. Why I adore one and despise the other is something I'll have to think about the rest of the day. Maybe it's a blind spot of mine. But Vernon, Florida hits me as deeply introspective and interesting, while this is the opposite.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:22 AM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I watched about 10 minutes AHWO and I had a similar reaction. It makes me feel uncomfortable about the benefits and privilege that I have and live with. Maybe that's the point, I don't know. I am going to search out the one you referenced, will see if its the same kind of reaction.
posted by Fizz at 10:36 AM on February 6, 2015

Well, I enjoyed it. I always want to know more about how humans live, past or present, anywhere in the world, and this film satisfies that desire with unvarnished dialogue and detailed close-up head shots. Almost as if cataloguing them. Is it pushing it, ethically? Maybe. Maybe that's why the filmmakers didn't try to hide the palpable mistrust displayed by a lot of the subjects.

I worry about how some of the men in the film would feel watching it and hearing what people far removed in lifestyle have to say about it (like this comment, for instance.) But the deed's already done so I guess...
posted by TheRedArmy at 11:22 AM on February 6, 2015

In the bar business we always knew when a f***-up came in. The hair on the back of your neck stood up. This was a veritable endless cavalcade of f***-ups...
posted by jim in austin at 11:27 AM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

like the surveillance man videos, I think this is a documentary about the viewer, not the subject. the thing doesn't really provide you with any clear cues for deciding how to think about what's going on the screen. it just films people as they are, no sweeping orchestral scores, hanging on to the lens longer than they should, not being professional at all. then you, the viewer, gets to decide whether or not to think 'what a bunch of aholes' or to think 'humanity is what it is' or whatever it is that you want to think about.

the problem of consent sort of taints the whole thing though, as do the filmmakers. highly educated, privileged documentarians leveraging people's time, privacy, and mistaken expectations about what will be on film vis a vis 'dark matter' (or whatever he calls it), the expectations these people have formed by watching other documentaries, all for the sake of making some larger point about filmmaking (or whatever they're talking about) is wrong. you don't have that right. you never did. it's bullshit that you think you do and only somebody who was high as a damn kite would think this was some down-to-earth american version of a werner herzog documentary

which explains the whole couching of the idea as 'something we came up with on shrooms.'

so yeah. that's what I'm thinking, at least
posted by saucy_knave at 11:39 AM on February 6, 2015

In the bar business

I was able to watch it until the part where points to the spot where he describes where his mama got killed at. 00:57. I've heard this stream of one-sided conversation so many times that it automatically makes me shut it off and wish them on their way.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:54 AM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I watched the whole thing last night, and found the whole to be somewhat less than the sum of its parts. There were some of the men I was interested in hearing more from (or, really, anything at all) that would have been better served by filmmakers who were more adept at making them feel comfortable and drawing them out. The silent close ups, which as a device used sparingly could have been powerful, were awkward; at least one of the men said it was "creepy," and many of them looked uncomfortable.

The real hero was the fellow who grabbed the boom mic and sang into it, because we saw an AWFUL LOT OF THAT BOOM MIC.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:26 PM on February 6, 2015

Good Lord! Where'd they get that boom operator, Full Sail?
posted by chillmost at 1:44 PM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I watched it in dribbles at little at a time and I realized after finishing the film why I watched it that way...it tired me.
posted by robbyrobs at 5:35 PM on February 6, 2015

Saturday night bleeds into Sunday morning.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:16 PM on February 7, 2015

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