Wild Night in El Reno (1977)

This short film by George Kuchar may be the best thing I’ve seen by the master of madcapped melodrama. Rather than camping it up, Kuchar takes a more experimental, artistic approach to document one of his many yearly trips to Oklahoma. While there Kuchar camps out in a cut-rate motel, explores the landscape, and waits for the storms to roll in. Using carefully composed shot images of the weather outside his window, the layout of his hotel room, and some chuckle inducing stills of vulgar graffiti, Kuchar creates a personal cinematic scrapbook. Layered overtop of these images are snippets of sounds taken from Hollywood melodramas and news reports.

Kuchar has always had a good ear for catchy, but telling sounds. In Wild Night In El Reno Kuchar lets the images and found sounds tell the story of tornado season. It should also be noted that while many people associate underground films, especially ones that play up camp qualities, as being poorly shot, this particular film along with key moments from other shorts by Kuchar exhibit a calculating eye. This is a truly wondrous little film and for anyone who may not have the sense of humor to stomach the early films Kuchar made with his brother, this particular piece of work plays nicely to those in need of something tamer. While I see art in all that he does, Wild Night in El Reno is more aesthetically pleasing in a classic sense. At 6 minutes long it wastes nobodies time, that is if you can find a


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