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Welcome Says the Angel

The simple saga centers on Joshua (Jon Jacobs), a drifter from England who lands in the mean streets of L.A. In a seedy Hollywood bar he's befriended by Ana (Ayesha Hauer), another wandering Euro, and the two go off to her loft.

With:
Joshua ... Jon Jacobs Ana ... Ayesha Hauer Charley ... Leroy Jones Waitress ... Marian O'Brien An unusual, claustrophobic tale of dependency, "Welcome Says the Angel" is a no-budget venture that demonstrates sufficient skill to garner some specialized theatrical play and serve as a solid calling card for its creators. While the bare bones of the yarn are familiar, there's enough low-budget invention to overcome its obvious physical and narrative constrictions. It looks like a sure bet for fest attention.

The simple saga centers on Joshua (Jon Jacobs), a drifter from England who lands in the mean streets of L.A. In a seedy Hollywood bar he’s befriended by Ana (Ayesha Hauer), another wandering Euro, and the two go off to her loft.

However, following a night of intimacy, Joshua awakes to find himself cuffed to the hulk of a vintage Oldsmobile (presumably a failed attempt at artistic expression). His wallet’s been purloined and the young woman is nowhere to be found. When Ana returns, his money’s gone and she’s tripping out from a heroin fix. She’s not about to free her cash captive.

TX:A Silver Shadow release of a Brothers Kastenbaum production in association with Terra Pictures and Matt Devlen. Produced by Michael Kastenbaum, Seth Kastenbaum. Executive producer, Geraldine Sutton. Co-producers, Devlen, Ethan Holzman. Directed by Philippe Dib. Screenplay, Jon Jacobs, Dib. Though it unravels at a leisurely pace, the tale written by Jacobs and director Philippe Dib maintains an air of mystery and curiosity that’s simultaneously unnerving and engrossing. Ana’s initial motivation may have been monetary but that end clearly has finite dimensions.

The verbal interplay between the two actors is essentially banal. However, they strike a chord that rings true and embody characters whose plight seems authentic and immediate. It’s not so much love that drives them apart and brings them back together, rather a need for companionship. As they develop a bond, Joshua’s zeal to get the woman off drugs is less about passion and more as a personal check about his own sobriety.

Filmed in a stark, spare manner, “Welcome Says the Angel” benefits from its visual simplicity and an eerie musical track composed by Nels Cline and George Lockwood. However, it’s truly the chemistry between Jacobs and Hauer that glues the pieces together. While neither is conventionally attractive, they have a raw energy and naivete which is appealing.

Pic is unquestionably a testament to making the most of nothing and Dib is still culpable of such youthful indulgence as stray, artful images and lingering too long on perceived clever dialogue. Somehow it doesn’t seriously impugn the picture’s integrity or the forceful depiction of slightly desperate, if inviolable, marginalia.

Welcome Says the Angel

Production: Welcome Says the Angel (Drama -- Color)

Crew: Camera (color), Gabor Satanyi; editor, Keith Rouse; music, Nels Cline, George Lockwood; production design, Clare Brown; sound, Lockwood; assistant directors, Fred Hess, Phil Dupont. Reviewed on videocassette , Feb. 14, 1996. Running time: 82 min.

With: Joshua ... Jon Jacobs Ana ... Ayesha Hauer Charley ... Leroy Jones Waitress ... Marian O'Brien An unusual, claustrophobic tale of dependency, "Welcome Says the Angel" is a no-budget venture that demonstrates sufficient skill to garner some specialized theatrical play and serve as a solid calling card for its creators. While the bare bones of the yarn are familiar, there's enough low-budget invention to overcome its obvious physical and narrative constrictions. It looks like a sure bet for fest attention.

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