American Movie

    • Chris Smith
    • United States
    • 1999
    • 107 min
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    Standing on the barren expanse of a car graveyard on a fall day in Wisconsin, Mark Borchardt, the main protagonist in American Movie, explains what the horror film he made about his life is all about: "Rust and decay. But then within that is the warmth of the soul and stuff like that." In an uphill battle against his drinking and money problems, Mark is working hard to live the American dream. He wants to make it as a director with his feature film debut Northwestern. When this proves to be a financial impossibility, he decides to get back to filming his short horror movie Coven. With the support of his lethargic bosom buddy Mike Shank and his jaded, skeptical Uncle Bill, Mark struggles like a modern-day Don Quixote against an inglorious trailer-trash life. He manages to draw everyone around him into his ambitious projects, transforming close family members as well as vague acquaintances into extras or executive producers. This results in a seemingly endless sequence of tragicomic situations that are equal parts hilarious and emotionally moving. American Movie won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1999, the same year The Blair Witch Project premiered at the festival. Since then it has gained cult status - as has Mark Borchardt himself. Northwestern is still unfinished.


    • 107 min
    • color
    • 35mm
    Chris Smith
    Chris Smith for Bluemark Productions, Sarah Price for Bluemark Productions
    Michael Stipe, Jim McKay
    Chris Smith
    Jun Diaz, Barry Poltermann, Chris Smith
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