Put It In The Queue: The Guatemalan Handshake (2006)


What's he looking at?

One of the very first images in Todd Rohal’s wondrous film The Guatemalan Handshake is a clean shaven Will Oldham puttering along in an electric car the size of a runaway Go-Kart, a Go-Kart in search of a better life outside the hustle and bustle of the amusement park. Oldham disappears soon after. The main gist of the next ninety minutes is what caused his disappearance and what his very pregnant girlfriend Sadie is supposed to do now. Both live in a lively little town hindered by frequent brown-outs and populated by some of the most endearingly strange folks this side of a John Waters movie. Sadie’s overbearing father drives a school bus loaded with her two dozen siblings, Oldham’s father can’t remember the combination to the locked shed in the backyard, a woman’s lost dog is resurrected and the movie ends with a heartwarming demolition derby concludes thing on a high note for everyone. Oldham never does re-appear but it doesn’t really matter. Rohal’s obvious love for his supporting cast and the world he’s  created make the film a true original, it’s too bad it hasn’t really got the press or attention it deserves; it really is a wonderful little film. (Paul Barbatano)