Somewhere in the midst of the Clerks (’94) and From Dusk Till Dawn (’96) era of popular culture, an extremely brilliant ambitious Canadian was shaping his unique refreshing perception of alternative mass media images. Young Jeffrey probably looked forward to the eccentric yet highly insightful episodes of Twin Peaks, Northern Exposure, and frequent re-runs of Hitchcock Presents in his adolescent years. Fast forward to 2002, Allston, MA, the Harvard Business School, and you will find Jeffrey Norton, proud NI Section member unveiling his first opus to the world on February 28th.
A filmmaker’s first film is often the most important because many times it’s a true reflection of his/her foundation. One could speculate if Open Invitation is a reflection of Norton’s cinematic/artistic experience, and hence his foundation. Open Invitation is a 23-minute film short that bleeds of fantasy and reality. The film investigates a small photocopy business (not in Cambridge for you die-hard Kinkos customers) struggling to make a profit. A shop employee, Henry, decides to keep the shop open 24 hours a day, thus attracting a unique clientele, suburban vampires. The shop oddly becomes a vampire magnet, thus begins the days of wines and roses. Business is booming, everyone is happy, Henry couldn’t ask for anything more. And then…well, go see the movie.
What immediately becomes obvious after the first half of the film is the care with which it was constructed. The montage and mise-en-sine complement each other in a fashion that creates a cohesive visual flow. The range of acting was impressive as well. Within the short 23 minutes, one can experience classic Hollywood “method acting”, a subtle approach to acting, as well as a quick glimpse of a fantastic/surreal style. The question of whether Open Invitation is a glance into Norton’s inner core remains unanswered. I would encourage everyone to surmise your own conclusions…and be wary on pricking your finger anywhere near him!