Early in The Windmill Movie, 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 temperament's darker sides rejecting the argument, and those allergic to bitching by anyone who was, in Rodgers's words, "this rich, this white" reluctantly endorsing it. The oddball mélange is undeniably indulgent. But Rodgers's 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. Fortunately, Olch finds a structure in the film's final third, which draws from diary excerpts chronicling assorted affairs and his subject's struggle with cancer. Toward the end, Rodgers reveals that he tried to masturbate one last time but failed. Guess he wasn't jerking off after all.
The Windmill Movie, preceded by an intriguing short, The Quarry, debuts at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 4, at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli; tickets are $6 to $9.50. Get more info at 303-595-3456 or www.denverfilm.org.