Forevermore: Biography of a Leach Lord

For me, the major find of Barbara Scharres’s “Films From the Lunatic Fringe” series, which starts this week at the Film Center, is this highly distinctive pseudodocumentary by Eric Saks, an environmentalist based in Los Angeles. At once novelistic and poetic, this achronological collage of diary entries between the 1940s and 1990s by a fictional toxic-waste dumper named Isaac Hudak–the different stages of his life are played by three actors, including Saks–creates a haunting portrait of an alienated drifter’s existence that comprises the underside of our national heritage. Behind the dry recitation of ecological facts in the narration, there is a powerful overall sense of the poetics of waste (a register that recalls Thomas Pynchon), with writers as diverse as E.M. Cioran and Peter Handke used to flesh out some of the diary entries. Highly original in its form, its subject, its funereal tone, and its ghostly sense of presence, this is a remarkable and memorable first feature, full of haunting ideas and eerie aftereffects. (Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Friday, September 8, 6:00 and 7:45, and Saturday, September 9, 4:15, 443-3737)

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