James Franco continues meta high-jinx, impresses no one.
DIRECTED BY JAMES FRANCO AND IAN OLDS (USA, Nightvision)
Tuesday, May 1, 11:30 p.m.
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)
Wednesday, May 2, 10 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 (350 King Street West)
Saturday, May 5, 9:45 p.m.
Royal Cinema (608 College Street)
The key red herring in Francophrenia occurs halfway through the film when James Franco, in a voice over, mumbles: “I went to graduate school for a reason.” The meta-cherry on top of the meta-experiment that was Franco appearing on General Hospital, the “documentary” serves no real purpose other than to expound some basic graduate school notion of “art house” and perhaps prove that Franco completed his Yale reading list.
Shot over the course of an evening, when General Hospital was filming an episode at the MoMA (which never aired), the film is as perfectly crafted and equally vacuous as the soap opera which is playing out in its periphery. What the film strives for other than Franco’s own self-flattery remains vague. A generous reading might be to say it is an examination of Truth and Art (pretentious capitals and all). Ultimately, however, the only thing extractable from Francophrenia is that Franco watched La jetée and read Baudrillard. So what?