hit 2 pass
"We just kinda wanted to make it however we wanted to make it."
So said director Kurt Walker at the Vancouver screening of his experimental film, which is at turns beguiling and frustrating. It's a film about childhood and memory and about recreating those memories: fuzzy, distorted, illogical. It doubles as a movie about friendship, as it was made by a group of friends. I love that this film was made and that it was part of DOXA, but, for me, it was not a brilliant mind-blowing experiment like many other weird films which I have enjoyed.
It is admirable that this is a feature length film and not a conceptual art piece, although it does sometimes seem like an ambitious art school graduation project. Unlike other impressionistic, textured, perplexing films, Hit 2 Pass is fairly easily forgotten even as it asks us to wonder what it was truly about. Kurt Walker and his band of co-conspirators need to grow into the genre a bit more before their work has the gravitas of Ben Rivers and Ben Russell or Patrick Keiller or James Benning. It is definitely worth seeing, though, as so many of the Western Canadians films that show in festivals tend to be predictable and obvious.
Hit 2 Pass is a strange melange of elements: metafilm, hazy impression of Prince George, video game, interview. Only vaguely is it a film about the actual hit to pass, a combo race and demolition derby in which you must hit another car before passing. This lack of context may have been what perturbed my neighbor in the theatre, who inhaled a bag of popcorn, drank a bottle of beer, often raised his arms in a 'why' gesture and then left.
When it came to some of the still shots of graffiti, mailboxes and bridges, I felt a little 'why' as well. But I enjoyed the genre-busting spirit of fun and adventure. I was along for the ride for the fifteen minutes or so of hand-held footage of Tyson Storozinski and his dad fixing up the race car and liked that it mostly consisted of vague sounds and grainy images of sparks flying under the chassis. I believe the filmmaker wanted to unsettle the audience and also to make us laugh. This is accomplished. Throwing out the rule book can create magic and while I applaud this effort, the magic is still to come.