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THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT

USA, 2000 (MIFF 2001, International Panorama)

Director: Cory McAbee

Space is a lonely town. For Samuel Curtis—loner, interplanetary trader, rocket cowboy—it can be a very dangerous place. In Cory McAbee's outrageous galactic western. Curtis has taken on the perilous task of delivering a prime condition boy to all-female Venus. A tough assignment even without his evil nemesis, the insane Professor Hess, in hot pursuit, routinely reducing people to dust with a death ray. As much a retro sci-fi musical as adventure yarn, McAbees film is shot in a distinctive, grainy, black and white—familiar to fans of Eraserhead In this director's future, scrapyard takes precedence over hi-tech. Curtis' ship is about as streamlined as a frying Lite. He has a bunkbed and bookshelves in the stinking, cluttered flight deck. Surreal dance competitions, reeking space hillbillies, lecherous drones and wild musical numbers make this a helluva ride. One of the few audacious and inventive offerings at Sundance 2001. "Wicked, zany...knee slaps, hoots and howls" The Hollywood Reporter. A grand jury prize nominee at Sundance Film Festival.

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