Dragonslayer is a film that sets out to capture a generation: the lost boys and girls born during the Reagan Administration now stumbling and tumbling through a kind of dystopian Southern California, bathed in the warm rays of the western sun.
To call it a love song to an entire generation is probably an exaggeration, but this documentary -- winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature and Best Cinematography at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival -- definitely captures a moment. It's a moment that seems only increasingly relevant in the midst of weekly Occupy protestor clashes with police and signature, impassioned soliloquies by Current TV's Keith Olbermann.
To director Tristan Patterson (compared by critics to Terrence Malick), 23-year-old skater Josh "Skreech" Sandoval was an ideal figure to represent this moment: He refers to Sandoval in an interview as "an iconic character for these times."
More about the film's incredible imagery - and the trailer - after the jump.
Not all audiences will connect with Sandoval - a new father so often lost in the midst of aimless, drug-addled imagery - but the reason to see this film is less the man and more the tableau through which he moves.
What critics have fallen in love with again and again is the unusual, strange, bizarre beauty of the decaying remains of SoCal luxury. Patterson's cameras follow Sandoval into a world of distressed, abandoned properties, where he skateboards through the empty pools.
Somehow, these graceful moments breathe new life into the stark, skeletal relics of a civilization.
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The film is set to a soundtrack of indie bands like Bipolar Bear, Golden Triangle, Jacuzzi Boys, Real Estate, and Best Coast, which together deftly punctuate its message of punk-rock love.
Dragonslayer opens at FilmBar Phoenix on Friday, Nov. 18, with its last scheduled showing Friday, Dec. 2. FilmBar is located at 815 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, AZ 85004. For tickets and more information, call (602) 595-9187 or click here.