It's difficult to rate something that is so itself!
Making its rounds at UK Film festivals this summer, I’m An Electric Lampshade is a fun amalgamation of reality and illusion, dance and song, and passion and feeling.
The story follows unexpected protagonist Doug McCorkle as he pushes himself to achieve his lifelong dream of being a performer. Pushed by his wife and coworkers after he reveals his passion at his retirement party, Doug traverses the globe in search of understanding. While away learning how to perform with a cast of drag performers in The Philippines, we are taken from a strict documentary-style viewing into an eyeful of inventive and subverted frames; we learn more about the inner workings of Doug’s mind, just as he begins to learn more about himself. We see many a performance from Doug himself as well as the varied cast, capturing the celebrations of many different people.
There is a real subversion to what a viewer would come to expect from a documentary, especially one about a retired 60-year-old man. We are snatched away from the norm of documentaries by adding in psychedelic drug use into Doug’s narrative. This subverts reality and blurs the lines of what is actually happening. If I’m being honest, I’m still so unsure what is actually real.
What can be said is this is a joyful display of artistry. I’m An Electric Lampshade oozes with art gallery-esque exhibition pieces, interwoven together to show the progress of understanding. The physical artworks, as shown largely in Doug’s finale concert in Mexico, are spectacular and would have such a huge impact to those who could see them live. Exquisite choreography is used throughout Doug’s progression, as we see people feeling the true joy of movement and sound from every background, be it race, gender, sexuality, and age. The music, while at the beginning is reminscent of Right Said Fred‘s I’m Too Sexy perfectly echoes the transition into discovery and becomes its own kind of acidic artistry, set apart from the action onscreen.
I’m An Electric Lampshade spews joy beyond the screen and rings with this message: once you believe in yourself, anything is possible. While Doug’s words are aimed at those of a much older age bracket, the sense of self-love and dreaming is true for any person.
I’m An Electric Lampshade, directed by John Clayton Doyle, will be available to watch later this year.