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Student Films : A Harvest Of Achievers From Loyola

November 21, 1986|SHEILA BENSON | Times Film Critic

It's time for the '86 crop of student films and the modest Loyola Marymount Communication Arts Department, David to the USC/UCLA Goliaths, continues to break new ground in freshness and invention. (Loyola's complete program will be shown at the Fox International, Venice, tonight at 8.) .

The night gets off to a wicked start with George Campos' hilarious "Product of a One Night Stand," an animated lament by a self-styled love-accident. Campos' great, ditzy animation has enormous style and wit, and so does the music--so good you want it to expand the story even further.

Mark Kamps' "The Manager," a nicely stylized and controlled encounter between an injured college football player and a student manager is full of unrelieved erotic tension, although it feels as though Kamps had walked straight up to his subject, then ducked away from it before a last, resolving moment.

San Francisco's voluble, unshy Lyle Tuttle, tattoo artist extraordinaire whose full-body "cosmic armor" is one of his own best advertisements, is the subject of a marvelous portrait by Rich Mortillaro, in "Mother Art." Not only Tuttle, a complex and thoughtful man, but the history of (and some of the psychology behind) tattooing is revealed absorbingly.

Another animated film, "Vaulting" by Paul Tavianini, is an increasingly subtle and complex variation on a simple theme, a gymnastic exercise. This is another of the not-to-be-misseds.

Loyola's students are apparently encouraged to unearth subjects right at their own doorsteps, and Tim Fletcher's "Harris Sculpture" is one of the nicest of those, a portrait of an ebullient family to whom throw-aways are the elements of very personal art.

But the treasure of the evening is the utterly unpredictable and original "Who Gets to Water the Grass?" directed by Luis Meza. This is a deadpan comedy of character, in which a musician son (Peter Penalver) and a father (Raul Cano) with his own methods of dealing with the world's snares, live in uneasy symbiosis. The asides alone are better than most whole student scripts, and Meza a real find.

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