The numerous options for viewing the short films from the 40-year career of gay director Michael J. Saul in "The Daydreamer's Notebook" eliminate any excuses for fans of expressionistic indie films to not watch these works of art. TLA Video released a DVD of this Michael Saul Productions movie in June 2017, it is available on Amazon Instant, it debuted on TLA Video on August 29 2017, and it is debuting on the gay-oriented Dekko streaming service within the next several weeks.
The following YouTube clip of the trailer for "Daydreamer" highlights the inter-related personal and avant-garde elements of the film.
Saul provides good relatable context for the seven experimental films in "Daydreamer" by narrating an introduction that shows that the wandering mind of this auteur that leads to his films dates back to his elementary school days. He candidly shares his deplorable report cards that include comments such as that he rushes his work and does not play well with others. The amused tone of Saul in sharing these marks and comments indicate that not much changed in the following 50 years or so.
Saul opens this mini-festival with his 2011 film "Nightcrawler." This presumably auto-biographical silent color movie tells the tale of an 11 year-old boy whose nocturnal hunts for the titular worms triggers horrific nightmares.
The 2014 black-and-white film "Euphoria" essentially is an R-rated Calvin Klein ad; it features two svelte swimmer-body 20-something guys intertwining in various configurations with a comparable woman in an Eden-like setting.
A particularly clever film has a teen boy mug for the camera while literally holding a mirror up to the cameraman during much of the film.
Saul saves the most noteworthy for last in wrapping up the retrospective of his work with a remastered version of his 1981 16mm thriller "The Cipher and the Boar," which is the first widespread release of this highly stylized largely silent black-and-white film. This one centers around two orphans experiencing a waking nightmare that includes a terrifying discovery of the home of a taxidermist.
The short that follows "Cipher" and that concludes "Daydreamer" is a "making-of" feature in which Saul discusses filming that movie on returning home to Ohio after failing to establish a Hollywood career.
The tales of Saul regarding finding eager local talent and other strong support for the project reflect the nature of funding independent film decades before Kickstarter is very interesting; the manner in which Saul is able to have "Cipher" see the light of day in 2017 reflects the power of social media on which art house films rely these days.
The larger picture (pun intended) regarding "Daydreamer" is that it reflects the emphasis of art over commerce that sadly is lacking these days. As the terms expressionism and daydreamer indicate, Saul artistically uses film to communicate the thoughts that run through his brain as his mind wanders. The awesome thing is that doing so enriches his audience.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Daydreamer" is encouraged to email me; you alternatively can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.