Confusing Weirdness with Brilliance

Rocaterrania: A Portrait of an Artist, Filmed in Pity-Vision™.



A PEE STAIN IN THE BED is not the puddle-shaped mark of genius, though director Brett Ingram would like to think so. In Rocaterrania, he repeatedly confuses weirdness with brilliance, painting 76-year-old Renaldo Kuhler as a "visionary artist"—when he's really just a talented but isolated illustrator who happened to wet the bed through his teenage years. By day, Kuhler draws anatomical sketches for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, but he's also created Rocaterrania, a safety blanket of a nation he invented to escape familial estrangement and childhood teasing.

Kuhler's imaginary land is impressively detailed, even though it's less coherent than the otherworlds we often see in comics and movies; in Rocaterrania, we get a lot of slow pans through decades of his sketchbooks that offer a rambling Rocaterranian history lesson, intertwined with his life story in pity-vision. (Instead of a college girlfriend, he carried a picture of a Rocaterranian woman... until she "left him" to go back to Rocaterrania.) Sure, Kuhler's immigrant parents never hugged him, but if you want to tell a sublimation story in the post-Precious age, you're going to have to do better, or worse, than that.


Comments are closed.

Quantcast Quantcast