Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Anarchist's Birthday

Wickedly offbeat humor is the host attraction in this mordant and subtle comedy from the Bristol area of England. Produced with loving care on a truly indie budget, the film marks a first feature project for writer/producer/director Patrick Blake.

In what can only be called a surreal and, shall we say, tall tale, a bumbling vicar leads an angry farmer, a suicidal anarchist, a clueless delinquent and his half-girlfriend on a witch hunt in some fields outside Bristol. What starts as a barely organized operation soon descends into chaos, and the anarchist, determined to leave this world on the same date he entered it, at last finds the anarchy he long lacked—all under the auspices of a church and a government community service program. 

The result is hilarious, even if you're not laughing out loud. But there's much more than comedy going on here. 

To wit, who are the anarchists, anyway, and what are the targets of Blake's satire? If a lone wolf in an impersonal world suddenly finds meaning in a lowly witch hunt, and a pillar of the community sees justice and salvation in it, then what, on Earth, are the authorities leading this charade all about? If authorities are fools at best and a radical ideology—the idea of burning the whole lot to the ground—offers no antidote, then everything is reduced to absurdity. The comic relief of human incompetence, the exposure of pure impulse and fantasy—these are the fragile structures that hold Blake's idea of civilization together.

And that is almost funny, too. You can watch the trailer here: The Anarchist's Birthday Trailer