The Plagiarists (2019, Peter Parlow)

“The whole lo-fi video look, wasn’t that a thing already in the 90s?”

Shot in 4:3 handheld SD video… Tyler and Anna’s car breaks down, older man Clip helps them, and the three hang out. Tyler is a freelance cameraman impressed by Clip’s vintage camera collection, and Anna is a writer impressed by a long story he tells, which later turns out to have been memorized from a book.

“It’s not quoting – there was no attribution!”
“No air quotes?”

Months later, Anna discovers the source of the quote, and nobody else can understand why she’s upset over this. Meanwhile, Tyler has lots of Opinions, and is obsessed with race, keeps bringing it up, cannot have a casual encounter with a Black person without becoming insufferable (my notes say “she should leave Tyler, everyone should, he won’t shut up”). They both vent at mutual friend (of theirs and Clip’s) Allison, who looks like they are stressing her out. Ends with Allison writing a long inspirational letter to Anna… which I’m guessing was cribbed, since after all, the movie title is plural.

Seems to be of academic interest, but it’s one of those indie movies that is purposely foul-looking and filled with annoying people. Instead of re-reading the Cinema Scope article that first drew me to it, I spent my research time trying to figure whether the director is related to Kathleen Parlow, the violinist discussed in Veslem√ły’s Song. On letterboxd, V. Rizov says it’s “dead-on in its depiction of an endlessly fractious, mildly nightmarish couple” and Preston and Sicinski discuss the movie’s take(s) on authenticity.

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