AFF 2012 Review: FRANCOPHRENIA

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 1.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Actor James Franco stars and co-directs with Ian Olds in this experimental film gone terribly awry.  During his guest appearances on General Hospital, Franco had a film crew document his work on the soap and attempted to turn it into an existential thriller.  During the filming of one particular episode, James Franco, the actor who portrays the insane and evil artist Franco on GH,  immerses himself so much into his character that he begins to believe he is him.  The lines between actor and character are blurred as the dark side of Franco takes over the actor James Franco.

Sounds confusing enough?  Well, try to watch this bewildering film experiment.  It seems like James Franco and Ian Olds had all of this film footage and didn’t quite know what to do with it.  In their attempt to salvage their mess of footage, the result is ludicrous and occasionally laughable, whether or not that was their true intention.  During the Q & A session following the film Franco claimed that it was not his intention whatsoever to make fun of soaps and the actors who perform in them. That’s not how his film comes across, though.  In the scenes where Franco and Olds present clips of the soap, they come across as comedic and intended as lampoon fodder.  I will admit that I did laugh various times during the film; however, the remainder of the time, I simply felt irritated and frustrated.

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