Director Alison Bagnall collaborated with Vincent Gallo on the screenplay for his mordantly funny "Buffalo '66." Her own debut film, "Piggie," which takes place against a similar upstate New York backdrop, offers a minor variation on "Buffalo's" you-can't-go-home-again theme, but Bagnall's protagonist, an eccentric adolescent girl named Fannie (Savannah Haske), has never even left home.

Director Alison Bagnall collaborated with Vincent Gallo on the screenplay for his mordantly funny “Buffalo ’66.” Her own debut film, “Piggie,” which takes place against a similar upstate New York backdrop, offers a minor variation on “Buffalo’s” you-can’t-go-home-again theme, but Bagnall’s protagonist, an eccentric adolescent girl named Fannie (Savannah Haske), has never even left home. And this time around, pic’s quirky-for-quirky’s-sake antics are neither particularly coherent nor enjoyably incoherent. Pic will be seen by few other than casting agents prompted to check out newcomer Haske’s strong performance.

“Piggie” is the latest victim of a plague spreading through American indie movies: an unconventional-bordering-on-the-absurd approach to character motivation and narrative progression that is used despite the fact that a little more structure and discipline might have done the movie a world of good. In what may be a bid for art-world credibility, pic fails to explain Fannie or her various dilemmas to viewers. But Haske, who also co-wrote the film with Bagnall, impresses as the latest addition to that gallery of sullen-faced sexpots that includes Brittany Murphy, Chloe Sevigny and Zooey Deschanel.

Piggie

Production

A Surface Geometry presentation. Produced by Alison Dickey. Co-producers, Ellen Parks, Ian Jeffers, Diana E. Williams. Directed by Alison Bagnall. Screenplay, Savannah Haske, Bagnall.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Rufus Standefer; editor, Cushla Dillon; music, Dusty Trails; additional music, Sean Wareham; production designer, Jennifer Lea Timmer; costume designer, Wendy Schecter. Reviewed at IFP Los Angeles Film Festival, June 19, 2003. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Savannah Haske, Robert John Burke, Dean Wareham, John C. Reilly.

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