REVIEW: 'IT CAME FROM KUCHAR'
BY MIKE LASALLE
It's probably a safe bet - though it would take too many months of movie watching to prove it - that the best film the Kuchar brothers have ever been involved with is the documentary about them and their work by Bay Area filmmaker Jennifer M. Kroot.
In telling the story of George and Mike Kuchar, underground filmmakers who have been churning out low-budget genre films since the early 1960s, Kroot demonstrates a reporter's thoroughness and an artist's intuition. She gets everybody to talk to her - fans and scholars, both foreign and domestic, colleagues, filmmakers such as John Waters and Buck Henry, and of course, the Kuchar brothers themselves. George Kuchar takes Kroot into his classroom at the San Francisco Art Institute and into his filmmaking process. She catches the moment of introspection in which he talks about the struggle to complete a film - and then, in the next second, mentions that he already feels uneasy, not having something new to work on.
George, in particular, emerges as an endearing figure, a true eccentric who, in association with his twin brother, has worked in pursuit of a distinct vision for almost his entire life. The film's one drawback is inescapable: the clips of the Kuchars' films. The movies look terrible. As a result, the documentary ends up occupying a weird zone, somewhere between "American Masters" and "Grey Gardens." Actually, the film is more on the order of "Grey Gardens," but Kroot is too respectful and too kind toward her subjects to go completely in a freak show direction.
In any case, the documentary is interesting as a human story. And anyone who loves the Kuchar brothers' films or underground cinema in general will take extra pleasure in it.