Created by Marc Rosenbusht
"Sometimes the mystery is bigger than you think."
I'm not sure if the reaction to any other recent P.I. film has ever been so divided.
Granted, it is a weird little flick, a wacky sort of a neo-noir/comedy mystery in which a nameless hard-boiled jaded private eye, a recent widower, refered to only as "THE DETECTIVE," is hired to investigate a murder in a Buddhist temple. The gumshoe's right out of central casting, and comes complete with fedora, trenchcoat and a tendency to cheesy first-person narration, but he soon finds his left-brained logical and deductive skills bumping up against the completely right-brained intuitive and non-linear world of Zen.
Oh, and the director seems to have a thing for burning oranges.
Some people loved it, a quirky little 2004 flick, praising it to high heaven. It's won critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Ashland Independent Film Festival, the Gerald Hirschfeld A.S.C. Cinematography Award, the Chicago Indiefest Festival Prize for Best Actress, the Moondance International Film Festival Sandcastle Award for Feature Films, the Rhode Island International Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature and the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature at the Washington DC Independent Film Festival:
Yet it's also managed to thoroughly piss off audiences wherever it's been shown, with tales of people streaming out of theaters not uncommon Just a quick glimpse at ther IMDB page shows how varied the reaction has been:
- "... a clever little Indie about the zen experience.... funny and sad and pithy and cosmic, and the writer/director struggled for many years to make it happen, but it's a film for insiders only."
- "According to the director it took him 13 years to come up with this crap. This movie should be listed in the Geneva Conventions because sitting through it was an experience in torture. Poorly written, badly staged, dreadfully acted."
- "Zen Noir is that rare movie which engages you on every level mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And it's also funny as hell!!"
- "... neither zen nor noir, but a crude dumbing-down of each."
- "Deep and slapstick, sad and surreal, this is a truly inspiring work of art. Marc Rosenbush is one of the most original filmmakers I've come across in a long time, and I'm really excited to see what he does next!"
- "Relentlessly revisits all the clichés and avoids subtleties. Could have been both amusing and evocative, but misses both by a mile. Too bad.
- "Wow. You won't see ANY films like this. Completely original. Funny, mysterious, slightly disturbing. HIghly recommend."
- "What is the sound of one hand NOT clapping?... Boring, pretentious, preachy, visually deadening, awful acting, terrible dialogue, claustrophobic, unsympathetic characters, fake spirituality, bad jokes, alienating music track, and the director hasn't a clue that he's not ready for prime time."
- "You will believe an orange can burn!"
The sound of one hand clapping...
- "The morning fog clung to the city like desperation on an aging drag queen...Why do I talk like that?"
-- the detective talks to his reflection
- ZEN NOIR... Buy this DVD
(2004, Dreaming Dog Entertainment/Zenmovie)
Written and directed by Marc Rosenbush
Starring Duane Sharp as THE DETECTIVE
With Kim Chan as The Master
Also starring Debra Miller, Ezra Buzzington, Jennifer Siebel, Howard Fong
Cinematography by Christopher Gosch
Original Music by Steven Chesne
Produced by Frank Crim, Erika Gardner, Marc Rosenbush
Co-producers: Giovanni Cuarez, Marc Halperin, Marla Lewin Halperin, John R. Saunders
Associate producer: Buffie Groves, Marc Rosenbush
Executive producers: Kim Chan, Gay Hendricks, Kathlyn Hendricks, Robert Toombs
Respectfully submitted by Kevin
Burton Smith and film editor Chris Baldemor.
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"...and I'll tell you right out that I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk."