Not just a skate film, but a skate film with an exciting thriller story, filmed by master cameraman Christopher Doyle and directed by Gus Van Sant (Meet the Maestro 2007). Film full of very young actors found by the maker on MySpace.
Gus Van Sant is one of those rare directors who doesn’t like to repeat himself. In his latest film too, film making seems to have been rediscovered a little. The film is set in the world of young skaters. Skating is not a sport, but way of life. A life on the fringes and also a life focusing on sensation.
In order to provide a convincing picture of the skate world, Van Sant here worked with very young amateur actors. He found them through appeals on MySpace, a social network on Internet popular among young people. In order to communicate the dizzying experience of racing around a skate park – be it sober or intoxicated – the master cameraman Chris Doyle also shot Super8 as well as 35mm and in a wide variety of styles.
The protagonist is Alex (Gabe Nevins). He is 16 years old and only recently found his way to the legendary skate park Paranoid Park. One night, he allows himself to be taken along to the shunting yard. During a confusing moment, an accident happens and the story, based on a teenage book by Blake Nelson, acquires a thriller-like element. But Paranoid Park is certainly not a genre film. It is rather one of the most experimental and most psychological narratives ever made by Van Sant. A film with an occasionally stifling atmosphere, in which Van Sant’s familiar Portland acquires a very new form. –IFFR
A director who is capable of crafting both deeply unconventional independent films and mainstream crowd-pleasers, Gus Van Sant has managed to carve an enviable niche for himself in Hollywood. Since debuting in 1985 with Mala Noche, Van Sant has become one of the premiere bards of dysfunction, populating his films with a parade of hustlers, junkies, psychopathic weather girls, homicidal teens, and troubled geniuses.
The son of a traveling salesman, Van Sant was born in Louisville, KY, on July 24, 1952. One constant in the director’s early years was his interest in painting and Super-8 filmmaking. Van Sant’s artistic leanings took him to the Rhode Island School of Design in 1970, where introduction to Avant-Garde cinema quickly inspired him to change his major from painting to cinema. After mobving to LA, Van Sant became fascinated by the existence of the marginalized section of L.A.‘s population, especially in context with the more ordinary prosperous world that surrounded them… read more
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The films often out-of-place score slowly builds as Alex (Gabe Nevins), pencil in hand, jots the words “Paranoid Park” into his notebook. The film cuts to a dreamlike sequence at a skate park where… read review