This week I rewatched Monsters. Monsters was written and directed by Gareth Edwards, the director of the new Godzilla out May 16th. Monsters was shot on a micro budget in Mexico and other parts of Central America. Mostly improvised, it had a four person crew. Other than the two leads, the majority of the supporting cast consisted of non-professionals. One of the best performances – the two leads try to buy passage on a boat to the U.S. from him – was the owner a shop across the street from where they were filming. He was a natural.
Monsters takes place six years after a NASA probe broke up over Mexico, infecting half the country with alien lifeforms from Europa. A photo journalist tries to get his boss’s daughter back to the states. Of course, they have to pass through the Infected Zone.
I really love this film. The performances, its tone, how it was shot, where it was shot, its effects (also done by Gareth Edwards) inspire me to try to do something like it someday.
After watching Monsters I was reminded of two other micro budget sci-fi art films made in the past few years. Together, I think they would make an entertaining – and at times, strange – triple feature.
Another Earth is a film that people seem to either love or hate. I love it. Written by director Mike Cahill and star Brit Marling, this film also had a small crew. They shot as much as they could with just Brit Marling. They then used that footage to secure financing. With financing they cast William Mapother (Lost, In the Bedroom)and completed filming. It went on to win the Alfred P. Sloan award at Sundance.
Another Earth is about a young woman dealing with the guilt of a tragedy she caused, while the world deals with the appearance of literally another earth in the sky. It is a duplicate, right down to the people, though not everything is the same.
The third and final film of the micro budget sci-fi art film triple feature is Bellflower. Not only was it shot on a micro budget, director Evan Glodell built his own camera to shoot it. He also built flame throwers and modified a 1972 Buick Skylark to shoot flames.
Bellflower is really hard to describe. It is about two friends preparing for a coming apocalyspe. Full disclosure: I don’t think I completely understood what they were trying to do with Bellflower, but that is on me. I still liked it because of how different it was.
If you are interested in filmmaking, especially at this budget level, be sure to check out the DVDs. All three have interesting behind-the-scenes featurettes.
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