THE WINKING CIRCLE (Benny Zenga) Rating: NN
The anarchic enthusiasm and do-it-yourself ethos behind The Winking Circle are pretty inspirational, so it's a shame that this short documentary feels so empty.
The title refers to a group of kids in Uxbridge, Ontario, who are fed up with suburban sameness, mindless materialism and thinking inside the box. In fact, they want to throw out that box - be it a huge anonymous chain store or a television set - and encourage what they call eccentrification.
To that end, they create art bikes out of spare parts, personalize cars and vans with their own paint jobs and don original hairstyles like the monk cut or the mullet-hawk to display their individuality.
Their mantras include the slogans create everywhere and be a fool, to respectively promote creativity in any context and tell people not to fear looking foolish. This isn't bad advice for teens or anyone else, but it's hardly original.
On the subject of originality, the last third of the piece concerns the group's attempt to create a super-ramp for their bikes and boards. While their construction methods are to be lauded, I spotted at least one Nike shirt among those so-called free-thinking boarders.
And really: skateboarding and biking? How radical are they? In one sense, this is really the same old story about testosterone-charged kids (about 95 per cent male) looking to blow off some steam.
Director Benny Zenga's film zigzags here and there, not knowing its destination. A scenario about a wacky suburban family upsetting a conservative neighbour goes nowhere, as does a parody about the Southern Ontario Sasquatch Association. But the images of those creatively constructed bikes are fun.
The two screenings Friday (June 30) at the National Film Board include prizes and an art bike giveaway.