Skip to main content

SLACKER

USA, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Richard Linklater

Easily the year's most admirably eccentric movie is Richard Linklater's no-budget, college-town comedy Slacker. The 27-year-old Linklater shot the film over a couple of months last summer in and around his hometown Austin, Texas. Linklater, a college dropout who avoided the traps of film school, came to filmmaking from toying with Super-8. And the loosey-goosey, improvisatory, home-movie mode of filmmaking clearly shows in this aus­picious first feature, which sweeps the streets, the cafes, the bookshops and hang-outs to find the palpable pulse of contemporary life.

The question is, whose life? The term 'slacker', destined to become one of the key­words of the decade, applies to that generation of unemployed, white, urban, college-educated boho. Raised and nurtured on conspiracy theo­ries, talkback radio, MTV, greed and sci-fi fan­tasies, slackers grew up absurd.

Structured as a series of vignettes, the film uses its 130-plus characters as a continuous relay-team. With marathon tracking-shots, Linklater follows a group of characters until another arrives, following that one until anoth­er comes along, and so on.

While the film's style of long-takes and endless talk (My Dinner With Andre for the MTV generation, according to one reviewer) avoids the heavy-handed tug-of-sympathy of most conventional films, Linklater resists the temptation to turn this rag-tag procession into a side-show. There's no mistaking Linklater's affection and respect for his characters; per­haps Linklater is not unlike the character in the film who declares that he has given up on humanity at large. "I can only address myself to singular human beings now," he says. Yo!

See also...

TAPE

Independent American filmmaker Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Waking Life) again demonstrates his filmmaking prowess with a one-room claustrophobic drama. This low-tech, digitally shot ... More »

SCANNER DARKLY, A

BOTH SESSIONS OF THIS FILM HAVE SOLD OUT ... Adapted from a seminal Philip K. Dick novel, Richard Linklater's strikingly animated and trippy sci-fi film, A Scanner Darkly, couples an eclectic cast ... More »

LEGENDS

Actors in the longrunning Las Vegas show "Legends in Concert" try, every night to packed houses, to bring Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland back from the dead - and in so doing find ... More »

THE USUAL

... ... Minneapolis is a place rarely associated with filmmaking. Yet it's unquestionably home sweet home to director, writer and editor Eric Tretbar, who seems to know the territory like the back of ... More »

NIGHT ON EARTH

... ... The films of Jim Jarmusch invariably locate themselves in what one might call the 'poetry of the everyday'. His characters are constantly on the move, geographically and domestically ... More »

In and Out of Time

This sensitive study of the filmmaker's grand­mother who has Alzheimers disease, explores the nature of time and memory. The tyranny of memory loss means that she, an accomplished portrait ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director