By Don Simpson | January 18, 2013
Director: J.R. Hughto
Writer: J.R. Hughto
Starring: Sonja Kinski, Brian McGuire, Nina Millin
Henry (Brian McGuire) is addicted to collecting audio recordings of conversations no matter if they are albums from the 1950s or conversations clandestinely recorded on his portable recorder. This is all research and practice because Henry strives to record the perfect conversation. It sounds innocent enough, right? Yeah, but the habit gets him in trouble when his fiancee (Nina Millin) discovers that he has been recording their lovemaking — so much trouble that Henry is promptly kicked out of the house.
Enter Charlie (Sonja Kinski), an attractive, young, voyeuristic photographer who is excited by the possibility of creating audio recordings with Henry; except when Charlie says that she wants to “record something” her words drip with sexual innuendo. Charlie and Henry begin to play make believe, recording improvised conversations together. Sometimes they develop new characters for their role playing, other times they attempt to mimic various people they have met. To further their “research,” they begin to engage unsuspecting strangers, secretly recording the resulting conversations.
Charlie and Henry approach their lives as if performing a series of acting roles, attempting to achieve a greater level of realism by pretending they are someone else. It seems as though we never see the real Charlie or Henry, we only see whichever characters that they choose to play. The problem is that they do not always know when and where to draw the line. Boundaries are repeatedly crossed as voyeurism mutates into obsession.
Writer-director J.R. Hughto’s cinematic chamber piece questions the authenticity of our selves, specifically what we say. Are we all just playing roles in this world? Do we sometimes adopt false personas in order to fit into certain situations? Do we sometimes over-think (mentally rehearse) what we are going to say? Do we, like Henry, strive to have the perfect conversation?
(Also, be sure to check out our Slamdance 2013 interview with J.R. Hughto.)