How come I'd never heard of the Kuchar brothers? They have had an incredible influence, and were part of the film underground in its heyday, celebrated by the likes of Jonas Mekas and screening alongside the likes of Stan Brakhage and Andy Warhol. Their films, for all their low-budget schlock-style filmmaking feel, nevertheless show a keen sensitivity to the ways that images work, and how they can be cut together and juxtaposed with music and sound to create feeling and impact. Yet they always continued, quite deliberately, to work with an ultra-low-cost vibe in ways that intensified feeling, and maximized the unusual, combining comic effect and naked self-revelation. It's strange stuff, but not hard to see why filmmakers like Wayne Wang, John Waters, Atom Egoyan, and Guy Maddin love their work and were inspired by it, even while they all moved closer to the mainstream. While Mike Kuchar's films seem to be a bit more artistic and serious explorations of erotic themes, George Kuchar's films are over the top cult classic style movies. He seems to combine something of the prolific inventiveness of a Lloyd Kaufmann with the gross-out sensibilities of early John Waters and a strong hint of guilt acquired from a Catholic upbringing. Still, it's intriguing stuff.
Apart from a few flourishes, such as the delightful 3-d cutout opening title sequence, the documentary itself is pretty conventional, combining talking heads with archival footage, as well as a depiction of the George Kuchar on the set with a class he teaches in San Francisco, creating his latest low budget wild affair, about a female Frankenstein-type character. Still, the subject matter is fascinating, and the brothers are both seriously out there and genuinely sincere and talented, and each has a unique auteur-vision that is clearly on display. Definitely worth catching for lovers of independent and inventive cinema, and for stories about unique American lives.