“Alfred Eaker’s Fringe Cinema” is an irregularly published column covering truly independent cinema: the stuff that’s so far under the public radar it may as well be underground. The folks making these films may be starving artists today, but they may be recognized as geniuses tomorrow. We hope to look like geniuses ourselves by being the first to cover them.
Producer/Director/Writer Jakob Bilinski and his Cinephreak Pictures have released three of Bilinski’s films to date, including the recently completed Shade of Grey (2009) (being taken to film festivals now).
Bilinski is a director’s director who has an obvious love for and mastery of the medium. On the surface, Mime (2005), Foxxy Madonna vs. the Black Death (2007) and the previously mentioned Shade would seem to have little in common, but watching the three works consecutively is a rewarding experience in the best of independent cinema, in ways mainstream Hollywood Cinema simply can’t be and, frankly, is too clueless to be.
Bilinski tackles different genres in each of the three films, but all are replete with the director’s personal touches, shared, underlining, flowing themes, and the beauty of an artistic and fiercely independent struggle that can only be achieved without a tinsel town, silver platter budget handed via a blank check.
A lot of independent filmmakers fall too easily into the trap of flexing worn on the sleeve, extrovert aesthetics, which scream “resume for a Hollywood deal,” in favor of originality. Adhering to the tried and true formula trumps personality as much in indie fare as it does in the mainstream, but not so with Bilinski. While his enthusiasm for the craft is apparent from the outset, he never allows a desire for display of that craft to blur individuality.
Mime is the first film Bilinski released and it’s a broad comedy which stems from the Theater of the Absurd. It starts like an arch typical indie slasher film. Couples are making out in a park at night and the grainy camera work here is a quirky homage to every cheesy B grade horror opening we’ve been subjected to. The protagonist Mime Binky (Joe Grace) stalks his victim (Bryan McKinley) and mercilessly commits a horrendous