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Sunday July 24th, 2011

The Rawlings clan is an odd section of humanity. Amos Rawlings (Onur Tukel) appears to be a repressed homosexual who likes to draw pictures of mutilated phalluses when he's not contemplating mutilating himself with a buzz saw. Ezra (Robert Longstreet) is the effeminate, compulsive "mother" surrogate who loves to nag, prepare the meals and clean the house obsessively. Cornelius (Michael Tully, the director) looks like a Christ-like figure and is the one brother who did leave the family farm years ago but if he was ever well-adjusted he certainly isn't when he returns at the opening of the film. Cloaked in mystery he refuses to satisfy his brothers' curiosity about where he's been or why he departed. Athletically gifted he goes around to tennis and basketball courts hustling unsuspecting victims for cash.He likes binging and purging on alcohol seemingly in an effort to expel some internal demons.

Daily life on their rundown property takes a turn when the septic system backs up forcing the brothers to live with the waste of their lives literally as well as figuratively. They solicit the services of a rather bizarre plumber named the Red Rooster (Mark Darby Robinson) who is accompanied by a young female companion, Savannah (Rachel Korine),who he exercises near total control over. Where did Savannah come from? Was she abducted as a child or did she shack up with Rooster after fleeing an unhappy home? It's a mystery.The Rooster doesn't much care for the Rawlings and warns Savannah to keep her distance from them.

Things get stranger still when a messianic character invades the clan intent on exorcising the demons haunting the Rawlings family and ending their misery once and for all.

As you can tell Septien is not your average movie. It blends comedy and drama and embraces the independent spirit of alternative cinema with unusual characters, unconventional storytelling and a dark, foreboding atmosphere. It has good performances especially from Robert Longstreet and Onur Tukel (who also wrote the screenplay with Tully) and I like the way it satirizes the shallowness and oppressiveness of American society. Without revealing too much I was particularly amused when Septien asks the question can we achieve salvation by making it through to the end zone?