STRANGE FACTORIES, an indie surrealist film with some particularly weird clowny characters. Being a writer myself, I find myself fascinated with films/books about writers and their pursuit of the ever-elusive inspiration/ending/beginning of a story. Having experienced this feeling before in trying to come to the perfect ending, or having a great idea just on the tip of your brain is often times infuriating, sometimes inspirational, and other times nightmarish, depending on the situations surrounding the process of forming a story.
In STRANGE FACTORIES, metaphor and surrealist exploration are used in order to tell a story of a writer in search of an elusive tale that he just can’t seem to finish.
Much of the fun in STRANGE FACTORIES comes from finishing the story being the actual goal of the film, with characters from the story, and the acting troupe set to play in it then becoming crucial elements of the writer’s quest. Though every film must reach an eventual conclusion, to name the struggle to find that ending is something refreshingly meta, while still being empathetic to how difficult this process often is. As the characters from the story/actors playing them experience nightmarish visions and the hum of a distant factory haunts the writer’s every move, it makes someone sitting through this film experience what it is like to have writer’s block and may even serve as inspirational enough to loosen the blockage itself. So while the nightmarish visions are just that, which apropos to the placement of this review under the “Send in the Clowns” banner, includes many twisted takes on clowns and grimacing facades, this film not only frightens, but also inspires—neither of which are very easy to accomplish.
The film’s runtime is over three hours, leaving long pauses in the storyline set to establishing shots of the bizarre yet natural landscape. My fast forward finger was getting a little twitchy there every now and then, but the story and thematic conflict were interesting enough to keep it from acting up.
Filmed in black and white, with long pauses between Shakespearian-esque soliloquies, STRANGE FACTORIES may not be for the more literal-minded of horror fans. But fans of the theatrical side of performances, the technical side of writing, and the appreciators of the surreal and offbeat will find a lot of things to appreciate with STRANGE FACTORIES.