BREATHING SHOW, THE (director/writer: Steve Statler; screenwriter: Mouncey Ferguson; cinematographer: Dean Adams; editor: Steve Bloom; music: Dan Martin; cast: Mouncey Ferguson (Hubert), Ryan Hayes (Peter), Audra Wolfmann (Katherine), Paul Mendoza (George), Elise Robertson (Linda), Shirley Bennett (Anna), Dawn Nott (Breathing Guide), Brian Vouglas (Meditation Instructor), William Van Noland (LSD Victim), Joel Rentner (Bob Umholtz), Lee Vogt (Joe in the Bar); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mouncey Ferguson; Film Threat DVD; 2001)
“I loved this indie black comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
I loved this indie black comedy. It has a freakishness that’s genuinely nutty; a pathos that easily gives way to original absurdist comedy; and a refreshing way of presenting the human condition for a trio of twentysomethings, Katherine (Audra Wolfmann), Peter (Ryan Hayes), and Hubert (Mouncey Ferguson), who refuse to become responsible adults.
It’s directed by Steve Statler and is co-written by Mr. Statler and Mouncey Ferguson. It played in the San Antonio Underground Festival of 2002.
It’s set in San Francisco (Where else!) and told through a series of vignettes. The film opens with nicy guy George taking his fucked up much younger girlfriend Katherine home from the hospital after she overdosed on pills. Katherine rehabilitates by attending breathing and yoga classes.
Hubert is the self-centered dude who runs a “Public Abscess” cable television show along with his straight girlfriend Linda and his off-the-wall friend Peter. One of the show’s main shticks is Peter’s “man in the street” routine. In one such routine Peter interviews frat boy type Bob Umholtz and becomes belligerent in his questioning to the point Bob becomes violently upset. In another prank, Peter laces the ATM envelopes with LSD and follows his male vic who flips out and has to go to the hospital for treatment.
It culminates when the “Public Abscess” people throw a party in their studio and film the guests who go into a makeshift “confessional booth.” George and Katherine attend, and Katherine ditches George to go into the booth with Hubert. They take speed, and George splits when he sees she’s attentive to Hubert. Peter knew Katherine from before and even though he had a crush on her, he never asked her out. But Peter manages to get her phone number, which she writes on his hand. When Katherine passes out, Hubert lets her sleep it off in the studio. They meet again later in the morning, where Katherine teaches Hubert to smoke cigarettes by using the breathing lessons she recently learned that are supposed to give her a healthy mind. Meanwhile, Peter flips out on LSD and runs naked through a golf course before hospitalized. Strange as these characters seemed, I found them to be real and their love triangle predicament to be both funny and sad.
REVIEWED ON 9/14/2005 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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