Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Finally got around to seeing Beeswax.  I liked both of Andrew Bujalski's previous films and will continue to see whatever he puts out until such time as he starts making end-of-days thrillers with Nic Cage (actually not sure I wouldn't see a Bujalski-Cage joint).  I don't know if Beeswax is my favorite Bujalski (I'd have to rewatch the others to be sure), but it does clearly represent another step forward in his development as a director.

Beeswax made me think about Bujalski's approach to comedy, so low-key as to be almost unrecognizable as such.  I found myself thinking "that was really funny" a lot, but only laughing (or, really, half-chuckling) a couple of times.  And even then, there wasn't a clear sense that the scenes or lines or moments I found funny were intended to be funny.  I suspected that most of them were, but there was no way to be sure, and certainly no "laugh here" cues.  That's the kind of sub-sub-level Bujalski is working on, but even so, I think Beeswax is, in essence, a successful comedy.

Although the primary pleasure I found in Beeswax was simply watching the two (real life and movie) sisters, Maggie and Tilly Hatcher, especially their reactions and facial expressions, there was a satisfying, and perhaps surprising, wholeness (artistic unity?) to the film that suggests that Bujalski has matured into something of a young master.  His ambitions may seem small, bafflingly so to some viewers, but he seems to have reached the point of being in complete command of his art.  You may not know where he's going, or why, in Beeswax, but if you pay attention, you can tell that he's guiding the action with a sure, confident hand.

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