The work week has slowed things a little at the 13th Austin Film Festival. Basically it means the venues are hosting two screenings in the evenings instead of all day long. People have to work or something. But the slightly slowed pace hasn’t stopped guests from attending screenings of the films, nor does it mean the films being shown are any less spectacular.
Bobcat Goldthwait’s newest project, Sleeping Dogs Lie, was the start to my evening. If you haven’t heard, it’s the bestiality movie. John and Amy get engaged and he wants them to share their deepest secrets with each other. But when her secret turns out to be more than he can handle, things sort of blow up.
I was expecting Sleeping Dogs Lie to be a dark, crude comedy about fucking dogs. I mean, this is the comedian Bobcat Goldthwait that wrote and directed the film. Prior to the screening, Bobcat announced that he made it for $40,000 and never intended it to be projected on an IMAX screen like it was tonight – it was supposed to be a “fucked up movie [he] could show at home to friends.”
Melinda Page Hamilton plays Amy and does a fantastic job. In fact, she was just nominated for the New York Film Critics Awards for her performance in the movie –- a fact Bobcat Goldthwait announced right before Sleeping Dogs Lie started. Jack Plotnick is a convincing drug addict brother and is the source of many laughs throughout the film.
While the acting was good and some laughs sprinkled throughout Sleeping Dogs Lie, there are also elements of a family drama that I wasn’t expecting. The film actually takes a decent look at family, courage, honesty, and ultimately, forgiveness. It has a lot more charm to it than I would have ever guessed. It isn’t the best movie I have ever seen, but Bobcat Goldthwait wasn’t trying to make the best movie ever seen.
Next was the Japanese stop motion puppet animation, The Book of the Dead. It is the story of a young noblewoman who falls into a trance after copying Buddhist sutras. In her trance, she walks into a temple forbidden for women to enter. While atoning for this sin, she stirs the ghost of an executed Prince.