Giuseppe Andrews is a true auteur. He writes, directs, produces, shoots, edits, casts, makes, and procures props; just about anything you can think of, Giuseppe does for his movies. And Giuseppe makes A LOT of movies.
For Giuseppe Makes a Movie, Giuseppe is hard at work on his 30th feature film, Garbanzo Gas. While making Garbanzo Gas, Giuseppe and company are followed by a documentary crew led by director Adam Rifkin. Giuseppe loves the idea of a movie being made while he makes his own. A student of the cinema, Giuseppe understands the meta-nature of movies and that all movies are in a way about the movie-making process.
Giuseppe lives and works out of a trailer park in Ventura, California, where he spends his free time watching and making movies. Inspired by the European Maestros (Pasolini, Bergman, Fassbinder), Giuseppe made up his mind to make movies as fast and as cheap as possible (Fassbinder, in particular, maintained a breakneck pace that Giuseppe tries to follow). Not that Giuseppe treats his movies as disposable or as cinematic exercises. No, few directors are as in love with the medium as Giuseppe is.
Giuseppe and his father, who functions as the producer, make Garbanzo Gas the same way they have made every movie: they “cast” their actors from the trailer park, as well as drawing on the nearby homeless community. The star of Garbanzo Gas, and a Giuseppe regular, is Vietnam Ron, who plays a Vegan Cow on holiday from the slaughterhouse.
Giuseppe plies his actors with alcohol and food, but it is important to note that Giuseppe is employing them, not exploiting them. In fact, Giuseppe is giving these people more than they could possibly hope for, and I’m not talking about free booze and food. Giuseppe treats them with an unbelievable amount of patience and kindness. Making a movie about them is an amazing act of dignity, immortalizing each in one in his movies. In a manner of speaking, Giuseppe is a saint with a camera.
With Garbanzo Gas, Giuseppe wants to speed up his process and make a movie in a day and a half. He does, even when props and actors give him a hard time. His undying spirit is what keeps the production afloat, as do the spirits of his crew and actors. They are genuinely having fun making this movie. Not something you often see with production documentaries, where you will see the subjects wine on and on about money, crafts service, light, quality, professionalism, etc. With Giuseppe and his crew, the movie may be why they are together, but they’re not going to let that get in the way of a good time.
Giuseppe Makes a Movie is one of the few movies that feels like the simple act of watching it is rewarding. By watching Giuseppe Makes a Movie, you are validating the work of the documentarian crew that put it together, the work of Giuseppe, his father, and all of the participants. Everyone in this life is owed a shred of dignity, and everyone who comes to Giuseppe is granted that dignity.
Giuseppe Makes a Movie (2014)
Directed by: Adam Rifkin
Written by: David Nordstrom, Mike Plante, Adam Rifkin
Produced by: Mike Plante, Adam Rifkin
Starring: Giuseppe Andrews, Vietnam Ron, Big Ed, Walt Dongo, Miles Dougal, Walter Patterson, Tiffany Naylor, Bill Tyree, Sir ‘Bigfoot’ George
Cinelicious Pics, Not Rated, Running time 82 minutes, Released October 17, 2014