Partly documentary, partly fiction Bloody Nose Empty Pockets is wholly confounding. To say that we haven’t seen anything like this would be an understatement. Of course, we haven’t. But would we want to see something like this again? I doubt it.
This is a bizarre blend of booze and backchat which cinephiles would refer back to as How Original Can Cinema Get Without Toppling Over? And the kind of cinema that incites endless discussion on the function and frontiers of filmmaking. Filmed entirely in a bar in Las Vegas called the Roaring 20s, the clients at this booze binge have seen better days. They are almost all above 70 and lower than 90 but they are heavy drinkers in this heavy-lifting exercise in documentary fictioneering.
The “characters”—and I use the word with strict reservations since most of the barflies are non-actors who are made to act—mingle as if the camera isn’t there? Didn’t get it? These are all slosh junkies who have been handpicked to act as slosh junkies who have hung around together for decades and now when the bar is about to close, they don’t want the night to end. They have nowhere else to go.
These night owls, I suspect, have no family. They project the foul decadent aura of abandoned derelicts drowning their desolation in drinks and useless talk. While the characters may not exactly make an impression, except one guy with long silver hair who gets more space and talk time than the rest and who also does this very lengthy embarrassing monologue towards the end about not being able to do in life what he has set out to. The silvery haired man with a hawk-like face and that annoying bearing of being overbearing that alcoholics carry around keeps smothering a younger man while doing the monologue while the younger man looks like he would rather be anywhere else.
This feeling came to me many times. For someone who doesn’t know what alcohol tastes like, spending 90 minutes with this lush crowd could get very oppressive. But not in a bad way. Bloody Nose Empty Pockets weaves a fascinating if not somewhat infuriating mix of documentary and fiction. Its one-location bacchanalia begins to get repetitive after a point. And the blend of booze and talk is tedious. But the work’s uniqueness in the space of world cinema cannot be denied.
Image Source: Instagram/bloodynoseemptypockets ,IMDb, youtube/filmatlincolncenter
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