by M. Faust
The more fascinated you are by the notion of a place called Hollywood that barely exists anymore and probably wasn’t what you think it is when it did exist, the more you’re likely to be touched by this independent film. It was written and directed by Steve Peros, a playwright whose investigation into the suspicious death of producer Thomas Ince on William Randolph Hearst’s yacht in 1924 became the Peter Bogdanovich film The Cat’s Meow. Footprints opens with a young woman (Sybil Temtchine) waking up on the sidewalk in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, where movie stars still enshrine their fame in the cement sidewalk. (Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember the actress across whose block our protagonist awakens: That’s the point, though it works even if you do remember her.)
Having no memory of who she is or where she lives, she is guided through the day by passing strangers, all movie-obsessed in their own ways: a homeless man who sees racism on the walk, a pair of tour bus operators, an aging ex-starlet, some folks who dress up in superhero costumes for photos on Hollywood Boulevard.
After what seems to be a spot of meandering (including an interlude with a Scientologist that seems awfully ill advised), our heroine comes to understand her situation, which turns out to be somewhat darker than the tone has prepared us for. A bit more darkness, or a bit more development, might have been to this slight film’s benefit: It plays more like an extended short film than a fully fleshed feature. But it evokes a mood of wistful sadness at lives lost to dreaming.
Watch the trailer for Footprints
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