Written By Jeff Mardo
This disc certainly had me fooled. I though I was in for another one of those lame teenage “comedies” where the emphasis is on lame and cliché jokes and the occasional glimpse of gratuitous nudity. What I wound, however, was a wonderful movie that is the very definition of an indie film. If you liked Kevin Smith’s first foray into filmmaking, then you will probably like this piece as well. I would contend that Clerks was a better film, but this Mexican film certainly has it’s on charm as well. While Smith’s fi…ms are packed full of dialog, Fernando Eimbcke has crafted a piece that is about those moments when there is nothing to say.
Flama’s Mother goes to work, and leaves her 14-year-old son at home alone with his friend Moko. The two plan a day packed with pizza, Coke and Halo on the Xbox. Just as the two get into their game, the power goes out. They decide to order pizza, and the delivery man won’t leave. Meanwhile, a neighbor girl comes by to borrow the oven. This entirely unlikely group ends up spending the day together, and this throw-away afternoon becomes an important and meaningful day for them all.
With low budget films come basic audio and video tracks. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this film was presented with a full 5.1 soundtrack. I was even more pleased that viewers are not even given the option to watch the film with dubbed audio. Only the original Spanish is here (though of course there is an English subtitle track available. There are no big sound effect moments in this film (save for a couple of shots from a pellet gun), so that’s not really an issue. Dialog is petty consistent, but since I don’t speak Spanish I can’t really talk to the nuances of the dialog. What I can brag about, however, is the wonderful score. The filmmakers have done an excellent job of picking out music that was not only cost-effective, but really adds to the story. Instead of just filling in spaces with no dialog with a popular rock tune, music has been very carefully choses to deliver just the right emotional punctuation to a scene. Even more impressive is the fact that they were bold enough to let silence sit uninhibited, which can be every bit as moving as music when used effectively.
Here’s where the most obvious Clerks comparisons are going to come in. This is a film that was shot entirely with black and white film. No hand held digital shots, just good old fashioned colorless film stock. While this was undoubtedly done for budget reasons, the decision also adds a great deal to the film itself. This is a movie about the spaces between events. Those (all-too) rare weekend afternoons where no events take place, but life just happens at its own pace. At first, the black and white presentation gives viewers the hint that there is not much here, but once some time is invested, I really can’t imagine this story being told any other way. These are people that society has ignored. While others make their presence known with big bold colors, these four are smaller, quieter people that do not draw attention to themselves. They are bland, black and white characters, but once you look closer, you see that these ae also people with their own fascinating stories to tell.
Sadly, it’s just a theatrical trailer for this disc. I would have liked to have seen much more on the background of this film. On the other hand, maybe the disc is fine just the way it is. The film itself speaks volumes. A bunch of electronic press kits and behind-the-scenes footage might just serve to mess up the message of the film itself. As curious as I am about this film’s background, there is a certain dignity in letting the narrative speak for itself.
In an odd sort of way, Duck Season is a bit like The Breakfast Club. It’s a comedy, it’s a drama and it is entirely charming and enjoyable. It is a film about growing up, about divorce, about love, obsession, friendship and . It’s also a very well made film. Indie films are original because in the absence of a budget, filmmakers are forced to actually spend intense time on the script. Judging from the extremely low budget of this film, I would say that the filmmakers were given an excellent opportunity to spend ample time on the script. Judging from the quality of the film, I would say that time paid off.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer