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Top 4 SA Films of the Year: The Film Editor’s Picks

December 31, 2013
A still from Travis Lippert's 'Ghocial.'

A still from Travis Lippert’s ‘Ghocial.’

For the biggest-hyped SA films of the year, 2013 saw an overabundance of sex, drugs and guns, and my feeling about the whole thing is best summarized by something Callie Khouri  (screenwriter of Thelma & Louise) told me in October.

“I think guns and sex are the two areas where people are least likely to apply intelligence,” she said. “Both things seem to come out of a place far less intellectual than you would hope.”

While the decently acted Line of Duty (fka Mission Park, it was released on DVD and VOD by Lionsgate) and Sanitarium (also released by Lionsgate on both DVD and Blu-ray) deserve my full respect for looking and sounding professional and both took off on some level, they’re the type of commercial, straight-to-DVD projects I’m not too interested in. What SA needs now is a critically acclaimed movie that can enjoy a good theatrical run all over the country, not just in select markets; we need someone who can push the envelope and surprise us (not necessarily with guns and tits and drugs), somebody interested in making a few bucks, yes, but who is also interested in film as art, not just as a form of popcorn entertainment; we need  an auteur who won’t feel validated whenever some Juan de la Chingada writes a positive review of his/her film.

So I went through as many local films as I could during 2013, and last night I treated myself with an often painful all-nighter of the best—and worst—the local film scene had to offer.

So here’s my verdict: my personal favorite four SA films of 2013.

Special Mention: Circus of the Self (Kavi Karnapura Das)

I’m not at all into faith-based movies, but this is the craziest, trippiest SA film of the year (I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone out there chose it as one of the worst films of the year—it is so nuts, that it is good). The film was put together by the local Hare Krishnas and features Karnapur as the magician, Bryan Hamilton as the clown (he also wrote the music) and has the wonderful local artist Adriana García behind the camera. It is an experimental silent movie mainly dealing with what the Bhagavad-gita calls “the modes of material nature” and how the soul is stronger than both the mind and the intelligence. Not for all tastes, but before the whole thing is spoiled by a turn-off ending equivalent of a “Praise the Lord” plea, the movie goes to places seldom explored in local film. If you can get a DVD copy and are in the mood for an Ed Wood-meets-Alejandro Jodorowsky visual bombardment coming from beyond, this might be the movie for you.

Go to the next page to see my third favorite local film of the year.

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  • JD

    Enrique. You’re a pretentious, egotistical, idiotic, imbecile, that no one respects. To mock the only two feature films that are nationally distributed, even one with a national theatrical release, and leave out The Nation’s film all together, goes to show why you should not be covering film and making this paper look bad. Then you go on to tag the heck out of the only two films you crapped on, to drive traffic to your posts. Get real and grow up man…. Everything I have written here is 100% true and should not be deleted.

  • Sydney J. Levine

    I wish I could delete this comment.

  • Bryan Anthony Ramirez

    Come on guys, Hate won’t do any good. I made two solid films this year and am very proud of both. Not everyone will get it. Though it is sad that the only bad press out of all the local tabloids have all three been from the Current. We obviously made our dreams come true. Getting a film distributed the way these two have is HIGHLY UNLIKELY to the average person. But, we were good enough for Lionsgate and Image. I don’t see why the Current doesn’t get it. Maybe it’s the multiple failed attempts by others, I don’t know. But when numerous emails and texts come in, asking what I did to this guy, I have no answer. I make movies, and I’m happy.

    -Bryan Ramirez