How can you have a film festival without a film that has the theme of a film within a film? Simple. You can’t. If there was ever a film to include as a “Must See” at Los Angeles Film Festival 2014, it’s RECOMMENDED BY ENRIQUE.
Making it’s world premiere at LAFF, RECOMMENDED BY ENRIQUE is a two-pronged tale. The one is that of a young starlet who we find in the dusty border town of Del Rio, Texas working on her first feature film. Of course it’s a lo-budget/no budget indie horror entitled “Return of the Phantom Guards” complete with vintage 70-esque effects. But, there’s no director in sight as he is allegedly in Hollywood getting financing and taking meetings for bigger and better things leaving a crew consisting of some local teens imbued with the whole idea of “Gee kids! Let’s put on a show” to “make a movie”. Having found our Star on YouTube where she posts daily video blogs of herself, the teen crew and AD-cum-director continually applaud her performances and stare in wide-eyed amazement and awe at her scene preparation techniques to “get in the moment”. No moment though is more inspiring than showing fear at a dead goat hanging from a tree.
Staying at the same motel as our Star, is a weathered old Cowboy who himself has come to Del Rio for a job. He appears to be a gardener or landscaper waiting to deliver and plant two beautiful palms at someone’s home. Carrying them everywhere, including sleeping between them in his hotel room, one-sided mysterious phone calls and his quiet loner qualities make you look twice at this kindly polite man, and ask "what's his story?". Don't worry. You'll find out soon enough.
Written and directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, RECOMMENDED BY ENRIQUE is a fun witty romp, showing the potential of these filmmakers to take out us out of the moment and ask the question, “Is it real or is it fantasy?” Also serving as cinematographer, Garcia creates a polished look making great use of color saturation. But where visuals truly excel are with some of the most engaging, interesting and fun footage that begs for its own film are the “all that is left” snippets of “The Return of the Phantom Guards” which serve the end credits well. Some great technical effects add to the mix while newcomer Sarah Swinwood brings her own brand of quirkiness to our Star.
Written and Directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia
Cast: Sarah Swinwood, Lino Varela
(Los Angeles Film Festival 2014 review)