While Trylon microcinema has steadily built its movie revering reputation on a consistently enticing slate of classic films (ranging from the widely celebrated to the criminally overlooked), the inclusion of Trylon Premiere Tuesdays expands the theater’s programming to encompass contemporary works from around the globe. Tomorrow’s classics, today? Stop by the Trylon on Tuesdays to find out.
Playing 11.29 & 12.06: Dragonslayer
Over the last few decades skateboarding has acquired an air of respectability that would have scandalized early riders. Mainstream attention has made figures like Tony Hawk household names, attracted corporate sponsorship to televised competitions, and earned serious consideration as a proposed Olympic sport. But for all the sanitized commercialization, the bruised and battered counterculture that originally spawned skateboarding continues to dwell in the fringes of broken homes and mislaid hopes, vagabond tribes of thrasher kids intent on escaping the monotonous mediocrity of their lives through the transcendent rush of each precarious stunt. In documentary filmmaker Tristan Patterson’s Dragonslayer, this restless yen finds an unlikely patron saint in Josh “Skreech” Sandoval.
Raised in Southern California, the widely acknowledged birthplace of skateboarding, the 23 year-old Sandoval immediately fits the stereotypical profile of a wayward skate punk. Intermittently homeless (but evincing little concern for his lack of monetary resources), Sandoval perpetually trades the highs of boarding with an assortment of recreational drugs. Patterson quickly dispels skater-stoner clichés, however, by zeroing in on the responsibilities steadily creeping into Sandoval’s freewheeling life, particularly his fledgling efforts to father his newborn son.
Dragonslayer offers no delusions on Sandoval’s odds of achieving fame and fortune on his board. While Patterson suggests that Sandoval once ranked amongst skateboarding’s most promising riders, subsequent years have dulled his skills and his passion. As evidence, Patterson records how an invitational in Copenhagen – meant to rejuvenate Sandoval’s stalled career – results in a crushing elimination. Compared to the competition, Sandoval’s movements are rigid, his execution is sloppy, and his wipeouts are frequent. Simply put, Sandoval is no longer a serious contender, a devastating fact that registers with excruciating reluctance.
Unfortunately Sandoval’s inarticulate nature prevents the film from offering much by way of introspection. Instead Patterson follows Sandoval’s routine; hazy days of skating the drained swimming pools of foreclosed homes and blurry nights of amnesic binge drinking. In doing so, Patterson allows for a remarkably unvarnished view of the lifestyle, but offers precious little insight toward the personalities. Thankfully the film features one notable exception in the emotionally vulnerable Leslie, Sandoval’s teenage girlfriend.
Initially attempting a jaded facade, Leslie’s affection for Sandoval grows increasingly evident as the film progresses, culminating in an uneasy decision to forgo her earlier ambitions to stay together. With an emotion unmatched by reason, Leslie is caught in the thrall of romanticism, even as the instability of their lives suggests an endless array of troubles around the next curve.
Whether by narrative design or naturally shifting perspective, skateboarding eventually begins to feel incidental to Dragonslayer’s larger story, one in which a young couple struggles to make sense of an uncertain future. In what is perhaps the film’s most resonant moment, the compromise of a dress code and a timecard hit with bittersweet inevitability. No matter how much air we achieve, it seems we are all brought back to the ground eventually.
Dragonslayer plays at the Trylon microcinema at 7 p.m. & 9 p.m. on Nov. 29th and Dec. 6th. For ticket information, see Take-Up Productions or call 612-424-5468.
Dragonslayer (Official Site)
Take-Up Productions (Trylon microcinema)