Ann Arbor Film Festival
Two shorts screening in competition this year also use the wait to differing effects. Scott Cummings' Buffalo Juggalos offers a dialogue-less portrait of life in Buffalo, NY, for members of the subculture of Insane Clown Posse fans known as "Juggalos." Although the FBI controversially classified the clown makeup-wearing fans as a criminal gang in 2011, Cummings draws us in by encouraging us to see the Juggalos as entirely ordinary. He films various Juggalos in placid, unhurried portrait shots as they stare directly into the camera. Two Juggalos stand by a swing set while their clown-painted children swing; another mows the lawn while wearing a shirt reading "I'm a Juggalo, not a gang member." With a slow and hallucinatory grace, Cummings ushers us into some more shocking scenes of Juggalo life, dropping in moments of surprising violence and sexual explicitness. But Cummings is clever in first leading us to identify with his subjects at length, allowing us to make a more well-informed--and perhaps more sympathetic--judgment on some of their more outlandish behavior. Buffalo Juggalos screens March 28.