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DONNIE DARKO

USA, 2001 (MIFF 2002, International Panorama)

Director: Richard Kelly

"Part comic book, part case study, this is certainly the most original and venturesome American independent of the past year." - Village Voice

Donnie Darko takes its vernacular from 80s pop culture, but employs sufficient X-Files conspiracy theory and magic realism that it reads like a John Hughes version of a Gabriel García Márquez novel! As much a nod to the underbelly of the Ferris Bueller and Back to the Future era as it is to the multiple narratives style of Thomas Anderson's similarly apocalyptic Magnolia.

From the opening scene, debut writer-director Richard Kelly fiddles with normality: middle child Donnie Darko is off his psychotropic medication and receiving messages from outer space. That night Donnie's bedroom is obliterated by a falling plane engine, and, increasingly delusional, Donnie is convinced the world will end in 28 days. With Drew Barrymore as Donnie's English teacher, Katherine Ross as his therapist and Patrick Swayze as a demonic motivational speaker, Donnie Darko is no typecast easy package. One of the most talked about films at Sundance Film Festival - and certain to be hotly debated by MIFF audiences.

Writer-director Richard Kelly (born in Virginia, USA, 1975) studied film at the University of Southern California, graduating in 1997. Donnie Darko is his debut feature.

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