Archives / 1994 Sundance Film Festival

Clerks

Director: Kevin Smith

Screenwriters: Kevin Smith

Institute History

Description

The filmic equivalent of a garage band, this low/no-budget movie, chronicling a day in the life of a convenience-store clerk, is a smart, funny, insightful wail of ennui. Shot in cheesy black and white, Clerks perfectly captures the fluorescent-lit banality of Quick Stop, the local hangout for the diasaffected, disenfranchised denizens of a backwater Jersey town near Asbury Park (Springsteen country!). This particular day, clerk Dante Hicks is called into work, for the umpteenth time, on his day off. Together with his best friend/worst enemy/neighboring video-store clerk Randel, he confronts a twelve-hour life stream of the sublime, the surreal, and the stupid—including a hockey game on the roof, a tumescent corpse in the bathroom, and a vast array of customers clamoring for cigarettes.

The metaphor of a convenience store, where the price of convenience is that one is overcharged for a meager selection of mediocre goods, proves very apt for this loopy meditation of contemporary values. The characters who populate this milieu regard their landscape with a benign disgust. But this bunch of lonely, horny folk also have a sweetness about them. Like everybody else, they're lookin' for love—or some human contact, at least—and the yearning just beneath their foulmouthed coolness is touching. (The largely nonprofessional cast has a low-key approach that lends an air of authenticity).

Director/writer Kevin Smith's affection for his characters informs an essentially serious work that refuses to take itself seriously. The laughs are immediate; the aftertaste is poignant and haunting.





Saturday Jan 22 10:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Monday Jan 24 10:00 am
Holiday Village Cinema I

Wednesday Jan 26 7:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Friday Jan 28 4:00 pm
Egyptian Theatre

$7.00

— Robert Hawk

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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