Crumbs (IndiePix, NR)

dvd crumbsEven in the film’s roughest moments, there is magic to be found.




After a few successful festival runs, Crumbs, the debut feature film by Spanish director Miguel Llansó, is being released on DVD and various digital platforms. Billed as a romantic surrealist adventure of sorts, it is set in a post-apocalyptic Ethiopia. In the skies above, a spaceship has awoken for the first time in decades. Our hero, diminutive Birdy (Daniel Tadesse), takes notice of the craft and resolves to find a way to board it. Birdy doesn’t believe he’s from this world. As a collector of 20th century memorabilia, he hopes to sell some of his collection to his friends in order to purchase a seat on the ship to find his home. We see him barter for a copy of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, and a shopkeeper considers purchasing a Ninja Turtles figurine as if it were some religious relic from a lost culture. Birdy also has a lover, Candy (Selam Tesfaye), who’s pregnant. She awaits his return by meandering around a long-abandoned bowling alley, where she maintains a shrine to Michael Jordan.

If all these pop culture references sound nauseating, that’s probably because they are. It all seems to be a means for cultural criticism presented as deadpan humor, but it’s too on-the-nose to ever be funny or poignant. However, if you’re willing to look for it, grace hides in the folds of Crumbs. Shot for an estimated $230,000, the film serves as a guide on how to do a lot with very little. The location shots here are absolutely beautiful, and by far Llansó’s greatest strength as a director. There isn’t a very strong interest in narrative here, which doesn’t really matter due to the charming performances by Tadesse and Tesfaye. It’s easy to see why the charismatic Daniel Tadesse has become Llansó’s muse.

In the DVD’s only behind-the-scenes feature, Llansó shares that the film was written for Tadesse specifically. Two short films, “Chigger Ale” and “Night in the Wild Garden,” come packaged as special features on the DVD. Tadesse also appears in “Chigger Ale,” which feels like a natural companion piece to Crumbs and would serve well in back-to-back viewing.

The feature film has runtime of a mere 68 minutes, but I found myself wishing it were shorter. This is mostly because the third act is so tedious that it undermines the first two-thirds of the film. I’m not sure if I could easily recommend the film, as I’m equally unsure if Miguel Llansó knows who his audience is. What I can recommend is that you keep your eye on Llansó, because there is definitely something there—even in the film’s roughest moments, there is magic to be found. | Cait Lore

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