Film Pop: ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’

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Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Directed by John Heyn and Jeff Krulik

USA, 1986

Often hailed as a hidden anthropological gem, it seems too many misunderstand the context and importance of this Heavy Metal Parking Lot. There seems to be a feeling that this film is in some way, mocking it’s subjects. I am not sure that is the case. Even with the addition of “critical” commentary from the likes of John Waters, who deems the film “creepy,” there is a sense of celebration in that title. This is a film that could only really have been made by young people and nothing interests young people more than each other. That’s why this film succeeds at being an accurate portrait of a lifestyle that perhaps too many among us deem unworthy.

As for its anthropological value, Heavy Metal Parking Lot shows the very beginning of a shift in culture. We already have a growing self-awareness (“You’re not MTV!), but there is still a lot of uncertainty with technology being present. The camera used to make this film was one of the very first home video cameras, and it is very likely it was the only camera present at the event. The reactions to it’s presence are singular to that moment in time. It is as if people are unable to ignore it’s presence. Perhaps that isn’t TOO different then today, but our attentions are so divided that we have the choice to be passive towards the constant documentation of our lives.

Justine Smith

Pop Montreal runs from September 21-25. Tickets, schedules, and other information can be found on the festival’s website.

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