Tchoupitoulas Screen 11 articles

Tchoupitoulas

2012

Tchoupitoulas Poster
  • Deserves to be double-billed with Kisses, the useless Irish film from a few years ago, a tourist's-eye view posing as a child's-eye view (what I caught of the brothers' banter seemed equally cutesy) - yet the visuals are often wondrous, there's enough sights and sounds to make it stimulating, and the youngest kid's wide-eyed fascination with everything (from a pizza being shaped to a stripper flaunting her wares) is infectious. Half magic ride, half NOLA infomercial.

  • Filmmaking brothers Bill and Turner Ross want to immerse you in that uncertain place; the results are often close to dreamlike, boasting a vividness that arises out of carefully shaped randomness. (It might also be added that while the directors are white, they approach their black subjects with an unfussy freshness, as David Gordon Green did in George Washington.) And still, even at this short running time, there’s a looseness to the kaleidoscopic adventure that becomes slightly wearying.

  • The look and feel of it is like a cross between George Washington and INLAND EMPIRE (beginning to think I reference this movie too much), with the latter taking the formal credit. Notes of Brakhage, Malick, and a touch of Jarmusch on the perimeter ensure that there's never a dull moment on account of there is - after night blankets the city - always a stunning image or montage to drool over.

  • Structured like a classic city symphony, the film is a richly impressionistic evocation of the sights, sounds, and personalities of New Orleans at nighttime...

  • There is a cumulative sense of character development here, as the last close-up of runt-of-the-litter William Zanders, whose aspirational interior monologues recur throughout the film, unmistakably shows a young man whose eyes have been opened to the heretofore-unexpected number of possibilities and snares in the wide world: "Boy, I could get sucked up into the sea," he says, looking onto the Gulf. "Just like that."

  • The filmmakers, Bill and Turner Ross (brothers themselves), stray from the boys’ wide-eyed perspective to offer unvarnished, up-close glimpses of local burlesque routines, rowdy live music, and other dive-bar diversions. In doing so, the Rosses—who previously made 45365, a lyrically congenial canvassing of their Ohio hometown—manage the feat of establishing a more knowing (if scarcely less jubilant) sense of place to offset the kids’ marveling.

  • While not a wildly experimental as Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s fishing boat phantasmagorical “Leviathan”, this raucous, nocturnal city symphony has the effect of a wildly colorful dream dreamt as the result of some overindulgence while the city sleeps–if it ever does.

  • Tchoupitoulas is largely successful in painting the manic bacchanalia of Mardi Gras, but the city competes with William Zanders for most vibrant, loudmouthed character.

  • The Rosses take "documentary" to mean the documenting of an experience, and are more open about the misrepresentation of space and time for the good of the film than most other practitioners of their craft.

  • “Tchoupitoulas” explores the border between innocence and experience. It is alive with the risk and curiosity of youth, and unapologetic in insisting that the pursuit of fun can be a profound and transformative experience.

  • The filmmaking model for Tchoupitoulas is not Errol Morris or Werner Herzog or Ross McElwee. Rather, the Ross brothers seem to be channeling Morris Engel’s independently produced 1953 film Little Fugitive and Kent MacKenzie’s 1961 The Exiles, both of which used thin narratives and casts of nonactors to give viewers tours of visually striking environments...

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