Staff Picks: Dave Schweisguth

Guy Maddin's Careful

Fandor engineering guru Dave Schweisguth directs his discerning eye to the Fandor library.

Fandor’s engineering guru Dave Schweisguth is a connoisseur of many things: cuisine, travel destinations and, contrary to his claims, movies too. He’s one of the most active movie reviewers on Fandor and never afraid to chime in with his opinion (if you’re logged in, be sure to check out his profile page for more insightful musings on the films he’s viewed).

Dave says: “I’m Fandor’s Director of Engineering, as in software engineering. I know nothing about film, at least not compared to the professionals around here, but I’m happy to be able to, as I like to say, use the Internet to increase our attention spans for a change.

“I can’t stand to be bored; I hate repetition and mass-market anything and pandering and laziness in language and writing. Independent and international film is what keeps me interested when I can’t travel, or at least get out of the house.”

Sounds like a man who knows what he likes. Below you’ll find an eclectic selection of films he’s deemed worthy of the Schweisguth seal of approval.

1) The Color Out Of Space (2010), directed by Huan Vu

The Color Out of Space“Lovecraft is the optimistic adventurer’s horror writer: his “cosmic horror” comes not from worn-out superstitions or the sicko next door, but from an inconceivably vast universe filled with beings that don’t care enough about us not to swat us in passing. All of Fandor’s Lovecraft adaptations are good, but The Color Out Of Space is my favorite: although moved to Germany and, ironically, filmed in black and white, it both completely captures the tension and the substance of the original and adds to the story while respecting its spirit.”

2) My Dog Tulip (2009), directed by Paul Fierlinger and Sandra Fierlinger

My Dog Tulip“OK, I lied in my introduction. This film is completely familiar territory to me, a devoted owner of two spoiled dogs. What’s new and endearing about My Dog Tulip, in contrast to pretty much every other film about dogs, is that it’s so real. Tulip is neither a prodigy nor a slobbering idiot: she’s a real dog, complete with affection, jealousy, and smelly messes. What’s more, her owner (the author of the book from which the film was adapted) is a real dog owner, who comes to prefer his dog to, and comically take her side against, many humans. If you’re a dog person, whether you find Tulip affirming or all too revealing, you’ll see your dog and yourself here.”

3) The Order of Myths (2008), directed by Margaret Brown

The Order of Myths“What more could you ask for in a documentary? The Order of Myths offers the exotic environment of Mobile’s Mardi Gras, a very relevant controversy brought into sharp relief by the director’s remarkable interviewing ability, and a human drama that you want to follow to its completion. I was on the edge of my seat throughout.”

4) Careful (1992) or Cowards Bend the Knee (2004), directed by Guy Maddin

Careful + Cowards Bend the Knee“Help, I can’t choose! Guy Maddin’s movies are strange, funny, visually compelling and constantly surprising. Every one he ever made is at least worth watching, and some are masterpieces, but where to start? Among Fandor’s collection, Cowards is a brisk introduction to Maddin’s signature themes and style, a good choice for prospective Maddin fans who just want to barge in the front door. Careful is less typical, with Austria standing in for Winnipeg and every scene suffused with glowing, cloudy color, but especially full of Maddin’s humor and eyebrow-raising inventiveness.”

5) Le quattro volte (2010), directed by Michelangelo Frammartino

Le quattro volte“This is one of those films whose story is inseparable from its spectacular setting, and which completely immerses you in both. And I can’t think of another movie in which the camera conveys intent so well without a word. Le quattro volte is very slow-paced but completely engaging. Seeing this film is like traveling somewhere especially meaningful: you’ll carry it with you afterwards.”

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