Tribeca Film Festival ’12: Francophrenia (or: Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is) Review
James Franco, the Academy Award-nominated actor, took a role on the daytime television soap opera General Hospital playing a serial killer named, Franco. During the shooting for the final scene of the season, he had a camera crew follow him around and the result was over 40 hours of footage made into the experimental film, Francophrenia (or: Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is).
Directed by Ian Olds and James Franco, the film has no storyline to follow. Instead, the film acts as a fly-on-the-wall and starts out following James Franco as he begins his day preparing for the final scene to be shot for General Hospital. What starts off as an interesting behind-the-scenes look turns into an odd voiceover giving silly insight into the mind of James Franco. As the voiceover proves endless, the idea loses it’s luster and soon becomes boring and repetitive. I couldn’t help but think that this was deliberate, and mocking the audience watching the film. Are the filmmakers just trying to make the most absurd film possible? Talking bathroom icons? Really?
Another completely puzzling aspect is the backstory of it all. I don’t watch General Hospital, so I had no idea what was going on in the scene they were shooting. Between the terrible acting and the ridiculously muscled cast, the story seemed to be that Franco was someone that was being pursued, but not with anyone really looking. And what about the baby?
What I did like was the black and white animation of a large part of one of the scenes of General Hospital. It took a terribly acted segment and made it something so interesting, you couldn’t look away. Besides that, even at 70 minutes, it felt like 3 hours, as nothing is resolved or accomplished.
Rating: Amusing but quickly tiresome. 2/10