Smartphone technology has made it easier than ever for independent filmmakers to bust into the industry with the smallest of micro budgets.
That’s definitely the case for Neil Ernst and his satirical iPhone-shot mumblecore masterpiece, Day in a Hostel which has been setting the festival circuit ablaze despite the fact that he didn’t even bother to flip the phone to landscape mode.
Honestly, that seems like a bit of an oversight.
The film takes the viewer through a journey unlike any other where a man in his mid-twenties kind of talks to people about his feelings, a real love letter to youth, wonder, and the road paved and retread multiple times over by the Duplass Brothers.
Critics are torn whether the fact that they did that thing that news channels do where they make the background a blurry, expanded version of the main image makes it better or worse.
Despite the cinema-verité feel the film clearly was not shot in sequential order because there is a scene about 60 percent of the way through where they actually make it landscape like they realized what they did but then it goes back for the next 35 minutes.
Everything from the characters to the wardrobe take the viewer through eras of long forgotten filmmaking, borrowing from the Italian Neorealists and French New Wave directors equally creating a symphony of directorial expertise if you just ignore the fact that the cinematographer held the phone like he was taking a Snapchat and not filming a movie.
“Day in a Hostel hits on every note Lady Bird does and then some,” said mumblecore icon Joe Swanberg, “it’s just a shame that Ernst didn’t flip the fucking phone horizontally.”
Day in a Hostel is playing in the exact type of theater you would expect it to play in if you live in a major city, if you don’t then sorry we wasted your time with this article.
Maybe it’ll hit Netflix eventually.
Article by Dan Luberto @thedanluberto
Wanna support The Hard Times? Buy one of our t-shirts!
Hard Style is a lifestyle blog by the people who brought you The Hard Times. Like us on Facebook to keep up with all our posts.