Flesh and Blood
Mark Webber boldly explores family dynamics using his real family as the cast and real-life situations for the story. Combining reality with fiction he exposes a disturbing truth: his family tree is full of broken branches that may never be repaired.
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★★★★ review by Felix Hubble: Boy Donkey on Letterboxd
Extremely emotionally resonant and personal film about a man who reconnects with his family after a stint in prison. Blurs the line between fact and fiction as director stars with cast made up of family members playing themselves - heaps of confronting tales of personal pain, failure, loss and regret. A kind-of post-mumblecore project, the film is interspersed with inauthentic scripted material that doesn't tonally sit right in the context of the film but, in doing so, manages to strengthen its more emotionally legitimate moments.
Mark Webber makes up for shortcomings imposed by the budgetary limitations on the technical aspects of the film in spades with his impressively consistent execution of intensely personal moments. Overall, while it's sloppy at times, it's still a definite personal highlight of the festival.
★★★★ review by Rick on Letterboxd
Viewed at SXSW
First, the problems. There are several audio editing issues involving lines cutting off too soon and overlapping each other in the first act. Also, I'm pretty sure the pizzeria scene includes a continuity error with Mark's pizza. Finally, the choice with one song near the end of the film didn't seem to tonally fit. However, these issues don't overshadow the achievements made in terms of narrative and character. Mark Webber's choice to meld fiction with his real life exposes an incredible amount of palpable pain and sorrow. The cinematography works at capturing these emotions by effectively using handheld cam and close-ups. The sights are beautiful, and the acting is fantastic. Of course, how much is acting? This film is quite disturbing in how little you know is true or false, and by the end, I really didn't want to know, too afraid of the answer. By focusing on these minuscule lives, Webber has captured how the political and social upheaval effects those not in the upper class. It's astounding how he captures the tensions of the times through the pains of the few. In doing so, he has made an emotionally brutal documentary and a potent narrative feature. Hopefully, innovations within genres like this continue to be explored for years to come. I think that this is a film worth paying respect to.
★★★★ review by Libby Banks on Letterboxd
This did the blending of reality/fiction in a way that worked much, much better for me. Really moving film - the conceit of having director Mark Webber's family playing fictional Mark's family wasn't too distracting, though I did find myself occasionally being like, "Oooh, I wonder how this actually went down/how real this is."
★★★★ review by Leo Brady on Letterboxd
SXSW Movie #1
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