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BUFFALO 66

USA, 1997 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: Vincent Gallo

A knockout debut by a true Renaissance man. After number of highly succcsslui film roles, Vincent Gallo, a fixture on the New York music and modelling scene as well, moves behind the camera for a feature that totally evades classification. Buffalo 66 is the story of Billy Brown, a loser extraordinaire, who has just emerged from a five year stint in the state penitentiary with the clothes on his back and a full bladder. In a riotous opening sequence that sees Billy desperately trying to find a toilet and being thwarted at every turn, the plot takes a crazy lurch sideways. The ex-con kidnaps Layla, a passer by, and forces her to participate in a ruse to fool his parents into thinking that he is a wealthy and successful secret agent, married to the beautiful Layla, who has been engaged in top secret government work lor Ihe past five years and didn't have enough time to ring his folks!

The absurd lengths to which Billy and Layla go to maintain this preposterous ruse forms the basis for Buffalo 66. Layla's deepening affection for Billy is both touching and desperate, and smacks of the classic psychological situation of a victim empathising and identifying with their kidnapper. The mounting comic catastrophes, the bizarre cast and rocket fuelled plot combine to create a film of extraordinary originality and tremendously entertaining invention. Angelica Huston, Ben Gazzara, Mickey Rourke, Rosanna Arquette and even washed-up action star Jan-Michael Vincent all turn in first rate bit parts as a succession of overweight, unwashed, blotchy, scarred and alcoholic friends and family, the perfect complement to Gallo's grungy storyline. Highly recommended.

Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1962, Vincent Gallo has forged a career in a number of disciplines. After forming a band in the early 80s he went on to work as a model and painter. With no formal training Gallo turned to acting in 1983 on The Way It Is (awarded at Berlin Film Festival). Further acting credits include The Funeral (MIFF 1997) and Palookaville. Buffalo 66 is Vincent Gallo's debut as a director.

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