Home Arts This generation’s Bob Dylan . . . or not

This generation’s Bob Dylan . . . or not

by Archives September 16, 2008

In art, you’re always looking to push that oh so clichéd envelope far, far away. You’re always trying for that avant-garde freshness that will transform stagnant ideas, pouring new life into the rocks of our crumbling foundations.
Guess what? There are many artists trying to do this right now in downtown Montreal. So many that an entire movement has formed (swarming the Mile End), they’ve found a chariot (retro BMXs) and found a calling (the after party).
And now, their existence has been comically captured on semi-pro cameras by a low-pro team of Montreal filmmakers. Who is KK Downey? is a great film about a ridiculously great scene: hipsters.
Do you love hipsters? You might after this film.
“If you like Who is KK, then you will like the movie,” said Matt Silver, co-director and star of the film. He granted the Concordian an interview following a question and answer period after a screening of the film last Thursday at the AMC Forum.
In the film, KK Downey is the persona created by two buddies who are trying to fine-tune their artistic callings through the ever inebriated and mobile search for a “wrongteous” time.
Theo, played by Silver, is trying to make it big as an author with a brash tell-all novel about a junkie. When he finds out from a book publisher that it’s about the artist and not the material – that being a suburban white kid won’t cut it (because “pretty much everyone has one of those at home”), he and his friend Terrence create KK Downey: verified hipster and truck stop junkie.
Terrence, a floozy musician, takes on the role of KK. A few months later, the book explodes and KK Downey becomes our generation’s Dylan.
The film injects wry meaning into every word spoken. The expression, “cruise control, right to the top” comes to mind while watching Terrence pedal past icons of Mile End’s hispter scene with chromed out handlebars.
Kidnapper Films are the culprits behind this quarter million-dollar, self-financed, balls-deep comedy. Some of the creators are Concordia alumni.
Silver enrolled in communications and journalism after being rejected for the cinema program.
“It’s amazing what Montreal kids can do,” said Silver. He offered some words of advice to all the filmmakers out there.
“Keep on hustling. I hate to say this, but smoke cigarettes, or at least hang around people who do, because that’s how independent film companies are formed – smoking between classes and talking about movies, and saying ‘hey fuck those Hollywood guys, I can make something better.’ Then quit smoking when you’re 28. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
In KK Downey, don’t expect high budget wholesomeness. Expect homegrown quirk. Don’t expect a normal story arch either; the film takes a turn from being driven by odd jokes about the hipster phenomenon to an outrageous plot-driven action-comedy.
The whole thing might sound a bit convoluted, but this blurring of categories suits the film to a tee. KK’s nature and discourse are practically allegorical considering the subject matter, and even a bit avant-garde if you think about the whole product. The film is strung together in the spirit of a “dirty, stupid, comedy,” according to Silver. There, he said it.
KK Downey has made waves already; the Gazette gave it four stars, and in Hegelian style, followers of Gazette reviews practically cried blasphemy. Maybe it gave them nervous chills of whether the kids are alright?
The film is a bit edgy. “It’s about our generation, and our appreciation of art,” said Silver while exploring the film’s deeper motives, “How do you get to the truth when so much is thrown at us?”
Maybe you just have to live the dream, Silver and the other kidnappers are.
Check out the film at the AMC while you still can; due to a limited theatrical release, it might not be there much longer.

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