|director||Jennifer M. Kroot|
|writer||Jennifer M. Kroot|
|starring||George Kuchar, Mike Kuchar, John Waters, Buck Henry, Atom Egoyan, Wayne Wang, Guy Maddin, B Ruby Rich, Bill Griffith, Christopher Coppola|
|trailer 1||Trailer #1|
Unless you’re a serious cinematic student of John Waters and underground trash cinema or an actual student at the Art Institute of San Francisco, the odds are you’ve never heard of George Kuchar. With 215 credited directorial films on the IMDB in a career spanning 5-decades, the only 2 notable productions that George Kuchar ever attached his name to were 1965’s Sins of the Feshapoids (which was directed by George’s twin brother Mike) and the 1975 post-modern-horror-porno-comedy Thundercrack! (Directed by Curt McDowell).
Sure, you may not know George Kuchar’s name, but the company he and his brother Mike kept as they screened 8mm opuses in the Manhattan underground included such superstars as Andy Warhol and Kenneth Anger (Hollywood Babylon). In 1971 George moved to San Francisco to teach film at the Art Institute (where he still resides). There his contemporaries included the likes of comic book artists Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead) and the legendary Robert Crumb (Fritz the Cat). With a ready made cast of students at his disposal, Kuchar’s incredible output has never ceased. In fact, between 2003 and 2004, George Kuchar directed an astounding 14 short films.
The hallmarks of a Kuchar film include wildly inexplicable dialogue and situations, near surrealistic settings in worlds inhabited by women with crazy Joan Crawford eyebrows and bi-sexual men with thick, very thick, mustaches. It would really take no effort at all to draw a direct line between the characters that populate George Kuchar’s universe in the 1960’s to the Multiple Maniacs of John Waters’ 1970’s. The influence and homage are absolute fact.
Documentary filmmaker Jennifer M. Kroot gathers together an impressive array of talent and fans recount the influence of George and Mike Kuchar—including John Waters, Screenwriter Buck Henry (The Graduate), Director Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter), Christopher Coppola and Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club). That such a broad and diverse band of filmmakers would call George Kuchar, friend and mentor, speaks to the genius that hides inside the addled brain of a very complex man.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of It Came From Kuchar is the breadth of interview footage with George and Mike about life experiences as varied as Mike’s trips to Tibet and George’s springtime sabbaticals to the Midwest in pursuit of his passion for Tornados. Somewhere under the barrage of dialogue that spews—almost unfiltered—from George’s brain and mouth right into the camera lens, we can catch a glimpse of an accomplished artist who can only see the world through his unique eyes.
Watching a George Kuchar interview is akin to listening to 3 different radio stations simultaneously while vacuuming and talking on the telephone. It’s a lot of information to process. It’s endlessly fascinating and mildly annoying. But, what is revealed in these interviews and indeed in the interviews with those whose careers are so much more distinguished than his—in 50-years, George Kuchar has never compromised his artistic vision. That singular vision that has plowed right through the original Underground Film movement, the Trash Cinema seventies and the No Wave/Transgressive period and landed smack dab in the new media, digital video revolution of today. It’s an unrivaled feat and the highway is littered with bizarre filmmakers that either got respectable or got lost. John Waters went on to make more or less mainstream Hollywood (or at least Baltimore) productions, Kenneth Anger stepped away from the camera for nearly 25-years. Warhol gave up filmmaking’s 15-minutes of fame abandoned the Factory and settled into the decadence of the Studio 54 set. If and when Richard Kern and Nick Zedd direct today, they rarely deliver the shocks they once shoved down throats in the early 80’s and 90’s with films like Geek Maggot Bingo and Sewing Circle. But George Kuchar is still here at 67 churning out films that are uncompromising in their surrealistic sexuality and unbridled imagination.
It Came From Kuchar is an important document of one man’s never ending quest to create art—whether or not you like it or not, it’s immaterial to George Kuchar. He lives and breaths cinema, it defines him, it motivates him and it has immortalized him and all his celluloid madness.