LUKAS THE STRANGE (John Torres). See listings. Rating: NNNN
Shot on 35mm and digital, Lukas The Strange, showing in the Images Festival's first week, is a battleground, locking two histories of filmmaking technology in an aesthetic turf war.
A small Filipino town is thrown into minor disarray - and in some cases physically mutated - when a film crew arrives. Amid the hysteria, the teenage Lukas learns that his father is a tikbalang (a half-man, half-horse creature) and must flee town, leaving Lukas to fend for himself. As townsfolk vie for the attention of the moviemakers, Lukas begins to wonder if he's turning into a beast, too.
Beyond his rather straight-ahead puberty allegory, director John Torres creates a convincingly dreamlike space that collapses the analog into the digital. Scenes are often overlapped, and sound and image become disjointed, as in a streaming YouTube video that's fallen out of sync.
When Torres dubs cheesy ray-gun zaps over a scene of kids firing assault rifles, he seems to be expressing his discomfort at the prospect of the analog and the digital coexisting, as if two periods in the history of the medium weren't intersecting but overlapping - a visual occupation that sees the past muscling dynamically into the present.
Screens Sunday (April 14) at Jackman Hall.