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SLAMDANCE 2013 Review:
JOSEPHINE AND THE ROACH

By Jessie Lynn

Josephine and the Roach
Directed by Jonathan Langager
Written by Joe Swanson, Jonathan Langager
Produced by Christie Hagenburger Damon Stea, Joe Swanson, Josh Tate 
Animation by Lino Stavole
Starring Circus Szalewski, Emelie O’Hara, Jenna Augen, Jeremy Gladen, Jerry White Jr., Josh Helmuth, Olivia Choate

Josephine and The Roach is a strange and beautiful little film by Jonathan Langager, about a friendship between the lonely young Josephine (Jenna Augen) and a kind, clever, sophisticated cockroach.

The film itself made me think of Amelie – perhaps because of the faded, dream-like lighting, and gorgeous cinematography (directed by Damian Horan); perhaps because of the music (composed and conducted by Daniel James Chan) – the music has a Yann Tiersen quality to it, and it doesn’t hurt that there is an accordion involved. The story is a bit Kafka-esque – I swore I’d never say that, about anything, but how can I help it, when there is a cockroach involved? (Although in this story, the cockroach turns into a human…sort of.) There is also a hint of Roald Dahl – Josephine could be seen as a grown-up Matilda; the cockroach reminds me of the insects in James and the Giant Peach.

I recommend Josephine and The Roach to anyone who likes accordion music, or who likes some weirdness mixed in with their whimsy – and to anyone who enjoys a well-told story.

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