Hands On

By Jo Phillips

Life echoing art or art echoing life, there is a saying after all life is stranger than fiction. But what about when a film tells a real life story, highlighting the depths we humans will go to in times of need, that shows are incredible stamina or the deep pain we carry around. This makes for often explosive story telling, that highlights our very human tenacious will. Find out more in Hands On.

One of these days is exactly that type of film. One that tells a real life story highlighting the human experience. A film that is ‘warts and all’ that doesn’t stray for some uncomfortable moments. Originally told as a documentary the director has revisited the extraordinary story and turned it into a full length feature.

The film is set in an unspecified southern USA town, one that seems to be small and remote. A town where it seems most people know each others life story. Yearly the local garage sets up a competition to win a brand new hardbody truck. And for people in this rural town a new truck means a lot more than a simple win of a competition it means work, money, survival. We see in the film the type of population of the town via those that enter. From those that believe God will let them win to those that truly believe in their own sheer bravado.

And so all the entrances have to do is put their hands on the truck and be the last person to let go… Simple enough, except this goes on for days and night and more days and night. People hallucinate, loose their rag, faint and so much more.

As mentioned this film was originally a documentary called Hands on a Hardbody, the 1997 documentary that filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has referred to as the greatest documentary ever made. Made in 1997 film and directed by S. R. Bindler this documents an endurance competition that actually took place in Longview, Texas. This yearly competition pitted twenty-four contestants against each other to see who can keep their hand on a pickup truck for the longest amount of time. The documentary follows the 1995 competition which lasted for a whopping seventy-seven continuous hours, without anyone removing their hands or squatting. The only breaks are five minutes on the hour and 15 every six hours.

So devastating a subject matter the documentary was not the only place the event was highlighted. The mesmerising talk show on public radio in American This American Life used used large portions of the film’s audio on the “Something for Nothing” episodes. On top of that it was turned, of all things, into a musical called  Hands on a Hardbody, commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse, in California.

A film that highlights raw emotions of need and want a competition that goes much further than just an endurance but shows sleep deprivation and the consequences of such. ohh and of course with this film you have to watch it all the way to the end and be aware of a few twists and turns as well as cut backs in the film of some of the characters before the competition

The director Bastian Günther’s gripping and psychologically thrilling drama, is coming to cinemas April 1st. The film stars Joe Cole and Carrie Preston. Not just about a change to win this film portrays a society in pain, in fear and in true belief in the American dream. Yet one where which the obsession with winning and beating the ‘other’ and the economic gain leads to heartbreak and tragedy.

For more information on this film please check Here

If you enjoyed reading Hands On why not read Dear Everyone Here

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