by David Ramsey
Good news for any movie buffs who missed the gorgeous “Tchoupitoulas” at the Film Festival last summer — the film opens tonight at Market Street, where it will be for at least a week.
Loosely speaking, it’s a documentary that follows three young brothers on a dusk-til-dawn night out in New Orleans. Very loosely: Bill and Turner Ross, the filmmakers (and brothers themselves), are more invested in dreamy impressionism than either reportage or narrative. The camera follows the boys and their adventures but also veers away from the protagonists to dabble in slices of night life. Unhurried and lovingly observant, the Ross brothers capture shot after breathtaking shot of strippers, brass bands, drunks, buskers, drag queens at work and at play.
All of it is grounded in the rhythms of the city, both the music — from bounce beats to crappy street bands to traditional jazz — and the voices of the folks that taunt, tease, and philosophize in the wee hours. The best voice of all is William, the youngest of the three brothers, who peppers the movie with pre-teen chatter, both in scene and in voice-over. The languid shots and meandering voice-over have a Terrance Malick vibe, but the Ross brothers are more funky and playful. The result is a small and quiet movie but its exuberance and lightness are unforgettable.
"Tchoupitoulas" was the most fresh and vibrant film I saw last year. Don’t miss it this week.
See a few teasers after the jump...