Described by the festival as a series of vignettes set in the wilting glamour of an old resort town on the English Channel, The Cost of Living is also a meditation on motion.
This 2004 film from the U.K. is one of eight films programmed in the Film?ABLE series at the festival, one that seeks to highlight creations that escape from conventions (victim, hero, and redemptive catalyst) found in movies made about persons with disabilities. The Cost of Living amply escapes these clichés, not to mention other basic elements of your typical flick.
Kicking off with a cranky Scotsman shedding his clown mask in the midst of a boardwalk performance to head home with his legless compatriot, the film meanders through a variety of dances disguised as the daily lives of its subjects. The camera focuses intently on the basic motions made by latter man, who walks more than capably with his arms. All are performances by a Norfolk group named DV8 Physical Performance.
Aside from the cheek of choreographing a solo dance by a mouthy Scotsman to Cher's "Believe," the film looks to transgress convention in more ways than one. It gets ironically impolitic with the central character, features hula-hoops as weapons, and repeatedly breaches the fourth wall; it's a site to behold. Ahh, performance art.
The Cost of Living was coupled with When Pigs Fly in a dual screening at Monona Terrace, the second pair in a sextet of films -- mostly documentaries -- screened there Friday night.