Combustible Celluloid
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With: Justin Rice, Rachel Clift, Andrew Bujalski, Seung-Min Lee, Pamela Corkey, Kevin Micka, Ralph Tyler, Peter Pentz, Bill Morrison, Tamara Luzeckyj, Mary Varn, Kate Dollenmayer, Keith Gessen, Salvatore Botti, Damian Hess
Written by: Andrew Bujalski
Directed by: Andrew Bujalski
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 109
Date: 03/01/2005

Mutual Appreciation (2006)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Three Flings

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Andrew Bujalski's debut film Funny Ha Ha, released in 2005, enjoys a kind of cult status among film critics, calling forth breathless comparisons to Renoir, Rohmer, Cassavetes, Jarmusch and Linklater. Its hilarious characters, educated but directionless and inarticulate, somehow peeled open a kind of disturbing truth. Bujalski's follow-up tells of a love triangle between a musician (Justin Rice), his best friend, a college teaching assistant (Bujalski), and his best friend's girl (Rachel Clift). Shot in grainy black-and-white, this new film will likely earn even fewer fans but it's an even more accomplished work, frighteningly intuitive and alive in numerous layers, even when it looks like nothing's going on. Opens today at the Red Vic.

DVD Details: Released by Image Entertainment, the Mutual Appreciation DVD comes with a new 7-minute short film, Peoples House, that is as odd and compelling as any of Bujalski's other works. There's a commentary track, called "interjections and observations," recorded by the parents of the cast and crew. The press notes listed something called "Film Festival Dispatch in the Form of a Children's Book" that I couldn't find. I'm assuming it comes in the liner notes, since I only received a "check disc." Other extras include various posters (in PDF format on the DVD-Rom section) and trailers.

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