Friday, March 8, 2013


Bizarro Films Releasing has done a wonderful job putting together a trio of films from Minneapolis resident and friend of the site, Joseph Larsen.  Larsen works in low grade digital formats, largely devoid of dialogue. Experimental and beautiful, his style captures loneliness and boredom with grace.  Decidedly unambitious, his budgets are not micro-budgets, but rather budget-less.  Uncompromising and patient, his style is completely his own.  Grossly under-appreciated until now, it is wonderful to see him get the attention he deserves.

Color, 55 mins.
4:3, digital video

As a first film, this one defined Larsen's style.  He hates working with crews, waiting for lighting, working with actors, etc...  He is a solitary artist, and yet has chosen an art form that demands collaboration.  That combination provides for a jarring simplicity that few young directors seem to have the patience or daring to do.
Cosmic Dissonance is the perfect example.  It is a sparse and simple post-apocalyptic piece.  As Larsen does in the rest of his films, here he captures the ordinary in the extraordinary.  Lonely Woman (Larsen regular, Jennifer Bahe) wanders the wasteland, listening to music, searching for food.  There is not a single line of dialogue.  Bahe is gracefully captured in fields, on railroad tracks and in candle-lit apartments.  Larsen follows closely in hand-held tracking shots.  The sound design is impressive as it seems completely devoid of modern life.

Color, 70 mins.
4:3, digital video

Rooted in Larsen's love of film noir and samurai films, this is about existential wandering, in the way of Antonioni.  Haskel (Tony Angelino) has a goal in mind, but he seems to forget what it is. Strangely funny and bewildering, there is no shortage of beautiful photography.  This also marks his move towards not moving the camera.

Color, 55 mins.
4:3, digital video

My favorite of the collection.  Davi (the very natural Natalie Sosnay) is the sole survivor of the umbrella killer's horrible night of murders. Playing off of Halloween and taking it to it's natural conclusion: sadness and isolation. All of her friends have been killed. Her life is now punctuated by trips to the laundromat and drinking Pepsi.
Larsen's nostalgia is on full display here.  Pluto has been demoted from being a planet and Crystal Clear Pepsi has disappeared.  Lazily and coldly narrated by Larsen, it is both funny and fascinating.  He follows Davi as she visits the house where the horrors took place.  It is now a tourist site in the vein of Ed Gein or Jeffrey Dahmer's house.
The camerawork is more sparse than ever, including dark shots that last several minutes, only showing the flare of a lamp in a window.
The use of the low grade digital serves Larsen best here, as well.

Set Yourself Up:

  • Before you watch TONIGHT, I recommend watching Halloween or Slumber Party Massacre on VHS.
  • Buy yourself some Pepsi.
The Goods:

This is a great collection, which you can purchase over at
You get all three films, plus a great little short and an interview.  Not sure if it comes with all of them, but mine also came with a page from the script of TONIGHT, with a note from Larsen, three glossy stills (one for each film) and a Vimeo link to another short.

-J. Moret

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