A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
A2P Cinema 100 Films of the Aughts
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FUNNY HA HA
2002 - Andrew Bujalski - United States
25

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Cassavetes lives!! Sharing the style and spirit of filmmakers like pioneer independent filmmaker John Cassavetes as well as a dose of Britain's Mike Leigh France's Eric Rohmer and a modern touch of Richard Linklater, Andrew Bujalski's Funny Ha Ha becomes a rare cinematic experience that is incredibly appealing. There is something so irresistibly attractive about this film. To me, it's strangely a perfect film. Using a minimal budget, natural lighting, improvisational dialogue, and a non-professional cast of actors, Funny Ha Ha recalls the improv realism of its influences while reinventing itself into a whole new generation-defining form. Bujalski (who also plays a supporting role in the cast) captures a generation in the purest of ways, detailing the relationships, misunderstandings, conversations, and awkward meetings of a "slacker" generation. The characters are so well developed they become intoxicating. The cast is great, but of course it is Kate Dollenmayer who is the soul of this film as Marnie. In the most unassuming manner, Dollenmayer is so incredibly lovable and charming here that the film ultimately becomes a joy from beginning to it's sudden and ambitious end. Dollenmayer's performance makes this a special film, but Bujalski really does have a strong sense of direction and visual composition, even if the overall look and feel of the film authentic. His skills as a storyteller (even if unconventional) are rare and truly original in that they express the definitive essence of indie filmmaking. Stripped of plot and techniques emerges a light-hearted and lively film that absorbs us into a world that oddly seems both familiar and other-worldly at the same time. Probably not a film for everyone, Funny Ha Ha works for me in so many lovely ways. I find the film to be perfect and easily one of the great American indie films of the decade!!
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