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CineVegas 2009

It Came from Kuchar

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Mike (left) and George Kuchar in It Came From Kuchar.

CineVegas 2009

It Came from Kuchar
Two and a half stars
Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot
It Came from Kuchar
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For such colorful subject matter—twin underground filmmaking legends George and Mike Kuchar—former George pupil Jennifer Kroot presents a surprisingly straightforward and nearly subdued documentary portrait. All the requisite talking heads are in place, from collaborators to fan John Waters on down the avant-garde pecking order. Childhoods, blooming cinematic interests and lifelong dedication to their mother are accounted for, as are themes of religion, sexuality, confession and, in Mike’s case, a fascination with Eastern mysticism. The brothers’ differences are made readily apparent, yet it’s also clear they possess fierce individualistic streaks. Clips are shown; Telluride honors are bestowed. It’s a perfunctory checklist, one seemingly intended as an easily digestible morsel for mainstream viewers and auteurs who are far more likely to subsequently proclaim themselves fully educated about their alternative forebears than to actually delve deeper into the Kuchars’ out-there body of work.

The back-and-forth cuts of the pair finishing each others’ thoughts from miles away are a highlight, as are the compact soundbites that break down the brothers’ enduring appeal: Their films are campy yet touching, and created purely for expressive purposes. While neither money nor fame is the end goal, the same can’t necessarily be said about Kuchar.

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Julie Seabaugh

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