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"Summer of the Chew Toy Soul" by Tristan Newcomb

What would YOU do if you saw a Sunday School puppet for sale that had been accidentally manufactured with a facial expression of perpetual anxiety?

If you were filmmaker Tristan Newcomb, you would buy it & make it the puppet star of a series of existential, surrealist, death-obsessed dark comedies. Best described as a twisted cinematic lovechild of Jan Svankmajer, Roald Dahl and Spalding Gray, this latest movie finds our young puppet hero Dobo (known as "Nintendobo" in his earlier videos) having to spend an entire videogameless summer with his alcoholic father in a bare San Diego apartment. Can head trauma hallucinations and alcohol-fueled escapism help the unhappy duo find common ground in their growing adoration of suicide's benefits? I think we both know the answer to that question. (quote from amazon)

Back in the 80s I used to watch a programme called "Der Experimentelle Film" (the experimental movie) or something like that a lot on our local TV station. (the WDR - West German Broadcast)

It would present a lot of fascinatingly weird works, like a film from Russia that combined weird imagery (think Tsarkowsky's "Stalker", only even more so) with creepy atonal music and old tape recordings of people rambling on about world conspiracies that were made in a Soviet insane asylum...

"Summer..." invokes the spirit of these kinds of movies. It's cinematography (I do believe the word is justified even if it's shot digital), the music, the ramblings of the kid...

All comes across just as weird, maybe even disturbing as I remember the previously described Russian movie to be. The monologues of the lonely, disturbed child make me think of the classic French cinema of Truffaut and Goddart or the feeling of bleak loneliness that is oozing out Bergmann's oeuvre.

But with a puppet.

Is it a parody? Or a serious movie? Or something in between perhaps? It's hard to say, but I surely DID enjoy watching it, grinning like an idiot a lot. So that's got to be worth something, I guess...

Here's a little excerpt:

The full length movie is available at amazon.

Also check out Smuppetsdotcom on youtube for more silly buggery. :)