It is permissible to want, though prepare yourself for some real pitiless pain. Or so Sean Byrne’s The Devil’s Candy will suggest. The film details a rural Texas family purchasing a new home. Its patriarch, a heavy-metal enthusiast and mural artist named Jesse Hellman (Ethan Embry), finds himself sacrificing his artistic ambitions for something more commercial. He is, after all, painting butterflies for a bank. It is no coincidence that when Astrid (Shiri Appleby), the family’s matriarch, suggests listening to some lighter music on their way from one home to another, that the family’s metalhead daughter Zooey (Kiara Glascco) snidely suggests Metallica. Selling out, as it were, has its irreconcilable consequences.
In a delightful bit of programming happenstance, you’ll find two rather unusual contemporary French films screening in Chicago this week. After premiering at the Chicago International Film Festival last year, Alain Guiraudie’s Staying Vertical screens at the Gene Siskel Film Center. I covered the film then and maintain my shaky appreciation for Guiraudie’s craft even if I still can’t fully commit to the picture’s surreal shapelessness. However, I found more to admire in Christophe Honoré’s similar-minded Metamorphoses (Noteworthy), which screens exclusively at Facets Cinematheque.