For some, the 80-minute long Australian Premiere Sylvio is going to be a challenge to your psyche. You're either going to love it or hate it. Sylvio is a non-speaking gorilla who works for a debt collection agency. Life is a little mundane for him till he gets moved to 'house calls', instead of being chained behind a desk.
He turns up at the door of Al Reynolds, who runs a very low budget television show to collect outstanding debts and is mistaken for the next guest, who's meant to be a novelty juggler of breakables. Sylvio gives it a go and breaks everything put in his way, including the props. Strangely, everyone loves it, ratings soar, and it soon earns its place in Al's variety show as the 'What's the Ape Gonna Break' segment.
However, Sylvio's true passion is to produce short hand-puppet videos called 'The Quiet Times with Herbert Herpels'. They are quite gentle in their content and the hand puppet quite amazing in that its fixed expression and especially its gaze is quite mesmerising and suited every situation it was thrown into.
Herbert Herpels doesn't fly with the audience who have lower, base expectations of Sylvio. They just want to laugh at him breaking everything that stands in his way. When encountered on the streets, he's cajoled into behaving like his television persona and is practically forced to break something at every turn.
If you're expecting to see a bit of action packed 'gorilla', you're at the wrong film. For some of you, this slow moving gorilla with aching wants and needs and lessons to give might be too much to take. It might be a case of monkey business becoming a little monotonous, in spite of the film working at showing Sylvio's sensitive style. By the end, it was wearing a little thin, but for those of you a little more arthouse, looking for meaning in every frame, it just might be up your alley.
Check the American Essentials Film Festival's website for other offerings.