‘Four Eyed Monsters’


Susan Buice and Arin Crumley have proven—the hard way—that independent filmmakers can create sizable buzz without the aid of a distributor. Four Eyed Monsters was a hit at Slamdance, but its co-directors were left to their own devices in terms of arranging promotion and screenings. Through an active website, popular podcasts, and other low-budget tactics, they have built a following for their engaging love story, which playfully combines elements of fiction and nonfiction. The title refers to the couples who inhabit the world with their eyes and limbs wrapped around one another. Susan, a painter who toils as a waitress at night, and Arin, a videographer, meet on the Internet and start up a relationship based on silence. Their affair is a bit of an art project: They generate piles of notes and discuss even the most sensitive of subjects (example: STDs) in writing but speak to each other only via videocassette. Inevitably this experiment proves to have its drawbacks. Along the way, though, Buice and Crumley demonstrate that they have a lot to say about 21st-century relationships and about the alienation that can thrive in a culture where encounters occur more often in cyberspace than in the real world. Fortunately, these artists know how to tap in to the universal longing for acceptance, making for a fresh, witty, and contemporary take on the perennial boy-meets-girl story.