Imagine you are given fourteen days and $3,000. What do you do? Shopping spree? Take a holiday to the Caribbean? Invest? For writer/director Alex Cassun, the answer was simple. He took the time and money, and put it into his debut feature film, The Buskers + Lou, which last week premiered at the East End Film Festival.
The film follows Lou, a man returning to his hometown of Portland, Oregon, after a mysterious year of absence. Upon his return he gets a suit, gets a job, gets a mobile phone, and is subject to the mundane restrictions of life that he has so long lived without. To further his misery, he struggles to reconnect with his friends, who mock him for becoming such a working square, and his ex-girlfriend, whose number nobody will give him, and is constantly alienating himself from his “roommate”, the woman he sleeps in a van with. For Lou, the cards of life just never seem to come up trumps.
Unfortunately, The Buskers + Lou will never go down as a classic. Compared to the likes of The Godfather or Citizen Kane, no critics will look in the indie film’s favour. However, one thing that was unanimous with all of the audience members I spoke to after the film’s screening was that for straight-up story, Cassun’s movie overpowers 90% of the modern-day blockbusters that are released nowadays. He has created a poignant story that was relatable for every artistic, creative mind, letting us know that, despite the problems life throws at us, there is always a brighter day ahead.
…I marvelled at how well the film was made…
It cannot be said that the film is without its flaws. There are times when the guerrilla style of shooting becomes apparent, as people passing in the street stop to watch the filming take place, and the semi-scripted nature of the script meant that the potential for snappy dialogue (as plays so well with indie features) was sometimes hindered by the actors’ improv. The director also admits that he still sees flaws with the music (though nobody in the screening appeared to notice). But other than this, I marvelled at how well the film was made, and for how little money.
Since the film’s completion, Cassun has finished off two more screenplays, one of which (The Monkeypuzzle) is currently getting its funding for filming in the near future. All of the information for his work can be found at www.indiegroundfilms.com, where you can also find a trailer for the very impressive The Buskers + Lou.
In all honesty, how disappointing does investing your time and money sound now?