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Diary: Aaron Barschak, Rebel Without Applause


By Douglas Bell - Posted on 26 August 2004

For one reason or another, today's festival schedule proved to be a notably quiet one in terms of events. The films continue to roll across town though: Black Jesus fought in the Congo, adolescence tries to find its way in Dear Pillow and A Good Lawyer's Wife, from South Korea, tried to explain that all actions have their consequences. I was a little unclear as to whether the wife is good, or her husband is a good lawyer (is there such a thing?). My suspicion was that nobody was really good and that something may have been lost in translation. It's a catchy title for a movie though.

Having acquired some knowledge in pitching from last weekend's classes, this evening I decided to look in on the Raindance pitching event at the EIFF delegate centre. Although there was little likelihood of anyone gaining a commission from the event, it was good practice for all. It's always interesting when people put their imaginations on display and this event showed some remarkable creative thinking.

A periodic table of ideas, the subject-matter stretched from Bosnian shepherds taken to Britain by mistake, to isolated Indian wives who fall for the gas man. My personal favourite was a tale of a lonely milkman in a sleepy northern town.

In a tragic accident with a crate of semi-skimmed, the man looses his front teeth. Coincidentally, his boss, the dairy owner, dies that day, specifying that the one who will inherit the dairy must win the local gurning competition. Complications arise when a property developer arrives and makes plans for something big. Furthermore, the girl of the poor milkman loves, has her heart set on someone else. With his newly acquired ugly mug and the upcoming competition, can the man win the girl and save the dairy?

Readers may recall the attempted hijacking of the opening night premiere, by the infamous Arron Barschak, as reported here. This man doesn't give up. His efforts to make a complete ass of himself and everyone else have been put together in a documentary - Rebel Without Applause. It is screening for free in the Cowgate Underbelly late on Thursday night, where any takers will witness the bizarre life of an uncontrollable and self-confessed lunatic.

His aim seems to be to put some punk ethos into comedy and at times, you wonder why he has not been locked up for longer under the care of medics. If you talk to him, which is a fascinating experience in itself, you will find an intelligent man with a child's outlook and a severe case of ADD. His film is very brave and ultimately it helps the viewer feel a little more forgiving of his insanity.

In some ways, it is difficult not to admire his determination and his disdain for those who are famous for being famous. He is of course one of these people himself, but Aaron somehow shows the likes of TPT or Liz Hurley to be as useless as himself.

What can we learn from Aaron...? Morons can and do make money out of stunts, but it's not big and it's not clever. Interestingly, he would be the first to admit that. His sister directed the film, her documentary debut, but a propaganda piece it is not. Expect to see it on telly, if not at the festival.

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