SXSW 2024: SASQUATCH SUNSET Is Both Mesmerizing and Moving

If someone were to tell me that I would adore a faux documentary about a family of Sasquatch, I would think that person was either lying or trying to trick me. When I first read the synopsis of this movie on the SXSW website, as I was planning my schedule, I initially dismissed it. However, while attending another film, I watched the red band trailer for the movie and was instantly sold. After getting a taste of the humor, witnessing the gorgeous cinematography, and simply getting a better feel of what to expect, I made it a point to add it to my schedule.

Despite its seemingly ridiculous premise, this movie is a testament to the Zellner brothers’ storytelling prowess. They deftly balance earnestness with comedic moments, and it’s the actors’ unwavering commitment to their roles that truly shines. Their dedication is so palpable that the only thing I found myself missing was a steady, unflappable narration by someone like Morgan Freeman.

The movie follows a year in the life of a family of Sasquatch as they interact, live off the land, procreate, and attempt to survive both the elements and dangerous predators. Jesse Eisenberg, Riley Keough, Christophe Zajac-Denek, and Nathan Zellner portray the group and are all barely recognizable in their makeup and sasquatch costumes. Though there is no actual dialog (as Sasquatch does not speak), the actors must utilize their body language and finest grunting skills to communicate among themselves and share their emotions with the audience. Every single actor performs superbly; however, the genuine standout for me has to be Nathan Zellner, who is the one Sasquatch in the group with a fiery temper. He is the most unique member of the family with a penchant for getting into trouble.

In addition to its hilarious, poignant, and melancholy moments, the beautiful cinematography by Mike Gioulakis and the magnificent score by The Octopus Project complete the experience. Though I realize this film will not appeal to everyone, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys off-beat and surreal movies. Sasquatch Sunset turned out to be one of my favorite headliners from this year’s SXSW and is now playing in theaters in Austin, Texas, this weekend. It will get a broader release in the U.S. on April 19, 2024.

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