Early in The Windmill, filmmaker Richard P. Rogers, whose never-completed autobiographical project was knitted together by former student Alexander Olch after his 2001 death, wonders if chronicling his life using footage shot over decades qualifies as a kind of jerking off. Attendees are likely to be divided over this question, with viewers fascinated by the artistic temperaments darker sides rejecting the argument, and those allergic to bitching by anyone who was, in Rodgerss words, this rich, this white reluctantly endorsing it. The oddball mélange is undeniably indulgent. But Rodgerss towering solipsism can be amusing, as during segments in which he tries to artificially impose themes (like his supposed jealousy of Steven Spielberg) in a futile attempt to give his amorphous narrative shape. Luckily, Olch finds a structure in the films final third, which draws from diary excerpts chronicling assorted affairs and his subjects final struggle with cancer. Toward the end, Rodgers reveals that he tried to masturbate one last time but failed. Guess he wasnt jerking off after all.
The Windmill, preceded by an intriguing short, The Quarry, debuts at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 4, at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli, anmd continues through September 10. Tickets are $6 to $9.50. Info about future showtimes and more can be found at 303-595-3456 or www.denverfilm.org.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: Sept. 4. Continues through Sept. 10, 2009