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July 25, 2007


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Simon Sauve - 2004
Atopia Region 1 DVD

The first images of Jimmy Weber show him barely keeping his head above water. This is the perfect visual metaphor for a guy who seems to be living from one scam to the next, the kind of occupations Weber would call "Jimmywork". In the website statement by Simon Sauve, he suggests that Jimmywork was a documentary that eventually evolved into something different than might have been initially planned. For the most part it is deliberately unclear how much of the film is actual documentary, staged enactments or re-enactments, or pure fiction.

Shot digitally, and transfered to film, Jimmywork is primarily in grainy black and white. Kind of like The Blair Witch Project, even if what we see isn't real, it looks real. What follows is the story of a fifty year old guy who decides to unsuccessfully recreate himself as a maker of television commercials. Weber's idea is to film commercials of the rodeo in the rural Quebec town of St. Tite (sounds like "tit"), for play on U.S. television in Oklahoma and Texas. As this small community has a large stadium specifically built to host the rodeo, it is indirectly stated that the rodeo is doing fine attracting as many attendees as they can handle without additional advertising. His plan to film commercials eventually rejected, Weber comes up with a nutty scheme to "kidnap" the 12,000 cases of beer held in storage for the rodeo audience.

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The film ends with a sort of happy resolution, although it uncertain whether Weber has ever really learned from anything from his past misadventures. Sauve's blend of documentary and fiction is fairly seamless. Jimmywork seems almost like a con job on the part of the filmmaker, the story of a fabulist as told by a fabulist. That may have been the point of the creation of Jimmywork.

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Posted by peter at July 25, 2007 11:31 AM