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LOW
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THE BLUES OF LOSERS: Movies about Outlaws and Underdogs in the American Independents

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The way he lays in bed - with his long hair and his body builder chest, he reminds us a little bit of Joe Dallesandro in a Warhol film. And when he coolly babbles on, he recalls Harvey Keitel in a Scorsese movie. Speck White is his name - he is the anti-hero from Lise Raven's dark "LOW" and he wants to be as black as the muscular boxers in the boxing club where he works as the towel-boy. Speck, splendidly acted by Thomas Vallette, still dreams the dream of an American macho-man. He also makes-believe this dream with his wife. At the same time he appears strangely compressed with his too-short legs. When his old pal Terry is released from prison, Speck kidnaps a woman. The story continues, taking on a nightmare-like violence, and only at the end will Speck know whether he is capable of killing or not. The only way out from the cold hell of Brooklyn could maybe be the women. Maybe. "LOW" is for sure no thesis-oriented film about gender roles. But it is a precise milieu and character study. "We shot the film in a little New York studio..." Lise Raven tells, "While outside on the street a huge crew was shooting "'Last Action Hero.'" Indeed, Raven's film is a comment and addition to a Schwarzennegger film; once Speck climbs into the abandoned boxing ring - and fights a desperate shadow battle in front of a U.S. flag. He never will be Rocky or Arny. He is the real Last Action Hero.

- HANS SCHIFFERLE, SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

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DEBUT SMASH: The Nantucket Film Festival scores first time out of the box

Lise Raven's astonishing LOW is the tale of "Speck" White, a Ratso Rizzo-like misfit who works at a gym and idolizes black people. The film turns sinister and blackly absurd when Speck's buddy and brother-in-law Terry returns to the joint. Terry is still obsessed with Michelle, his wife's sister, whom he raped when she was 12 years old. To make Terry happy, Speck plots to kidnap Michelle, and the outcome is absurd, hideous, and fiercely logical. Raven doesn't flinch when confronting male - and female pathology; and though her style and imagery are reminiscent of early Scorsese, they're also utterly her own.

- PETER KEOUGH, THE BOSTON PHOENIX