Frownland | Denver Film Society | Ronald Bronstein | USA

Frownland

Ronald Bronstein

EnglishUSA2007106 min

Showtimes

No upcoming showtimes scheduled.

Overview

Upon the release of Frownland (DFF30) in 2007, writer/director Ronald Bronstein called his feature debut “both an overripe tomato lobbed with spazmo inaccuracy at the spotless surface of the silver screen and a mad valentine to the craggy tradition of unadulterated, cheap-o, ultra-independent expression.” As hard-hitting, hyperstimulating, and gleefully perverse as that description may have been, it was also spot-on.


This ferocious exemplar of nails-on-a-chalkboard realism centers on Keith Sontag, a self-described “troll from under the bridge” who leads a torturous existence hocking coupon books door-to-door in New York’s outer suburbs. His utter inability to articulate serves him as poorly on the job as off; suffering through interminable apologies as he struggles to complete a sentence, he proves a hapless and irritating presence. Worse, he is excruciatingly aware of the antipathy he arouses in others—among them his bully of a roommate, Charles, who refuses to pay his share of the rent (and who sidetracks the narrative by embarking upon his own miserable, dehumanizing job search). The hostility Keith constantly endures tends periodically to elicit our sympathy—until, that is, he squanders it anew with his profound lack of social graces. The devastating finale finds our antihero (played by onetime suicide-hotline operator Dore Mann) taking a hellish romp through the nightclubs and alleyways of the Lower East Side.


Simultaneously absorbing and alienating, this worthwhile investment of cinephiles’ time and energy earned Bronstein a spot among Filmmaker’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” when it came out (an honor to which he has lived up as the co-writer of such acclaimed titles as Good Time and Uncut Gems). It also inspired one of the most moving reviews you will ever read by the late great Roger Ebert, who swore that the film’s “only purpose is to do justice to Keith by showing him as he is. I will not forget him.”

Producer: Marc Raybin | Editor: Ronald Bronstein | Cinematographer: Sean Price Williams | Screenwriter: Ronald Bronstein
Cast: Dore Mann, Paul Grimstad, David Sandholm, Carmine Marino, Mary Bronstein

You might also enjoy...

Frances Ferguson

Frances Ferguson

Longtime fest guest Bob Byington is back with this hilariously cynical, occasionally hopeful comedy about a substitute high-school teacher who finds herself briefly incarcerated after a fling with a student. Turns out the worst thing that ever happens to you can also be the best thing.

USA 2019 74 Min
Learn More
Synonyms

Synonyms

Winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale, this complex, multilayered drama follows Yoav, a young Israeli soldier determined not merely to leave his homeland but to excise all traces of it from his psyche as he starts a new life in France.

France 2019 123 Min
Learn More
A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence

In this heartbreaking landmark of American independent cinema, director John Cassavetes’ own wife—the incomparable Gena Rowlands—stars as a housewife waging a desperate uphill battle to be seen, heard, and understood for who she is, not least by her vexed husband Nick (Peter Falk).

USA 1974 155 Min
Learn More