About thirty-seven minutes into Georg Koszulinski’s Last Stop, Flamingo, a text card proclaims “I am a tourist vacationing in Florida, and you are watching my home movie. Any similarities to an actual documentary filmmaker are incidental.” By that point we’ve already watched his explorations of Estero, FL, and the unfulfilled dream of Golden Gate Estates. We’ve heard about Cyrus Teed, his “New Jerusalem” and his belief that the world was a concave sphere, with the remaining universe trapped in the middle. He’s been on an expedition in search of a Skunk Ape, and he’s watched the mermaids train in Weeki Wachi. It is indeed the home movie of a tourist, but it’s also an examination and study of the varied eccentricities of Florida (and of the tourist himself).
Still to come are the revelations about Miami Beach’s pristine sand being but a man-made attraction. A short study of the river of grass known as the Everglades followed by a trip to reconnect with his grandfather, to explore his garden. All ending at the natural coastline of Flamingo, FL.
The third in Koszulinski’s documentary trilogy about Florida, Last Stop, Flamingo, is also an experimental film of a philosophical and pedestrian nature. Stop-motion animation, stock footage and other stylish affectations bring a life to the experience that makes it transcend the trappings of watching someone’s vacation footage, and musings on the history or the locales elevates the conversation beyond, “hey, where’d you go when you were in Florida?” Split into themed sections, the film has an obvious structure even as it feels chaotic in its display.
In its way, it’s meditative and intriguing. The film may be about Florida, but such histories and tales abound the world over, if someone is looking to find and tell them. Shared in this way, those stories create a compelling and artistic experience that moves the mind as well as the soul.
In the end, if more home movies were like Last Stop, Flamingo, I doubt there’d be much of a stigma surrounding their display. I know that I’d be more excited to see them if I knew the person making them had taken the steps to craft something beyond simply pointing a camera and filming, and subsequently sharing, whatever appeared in front of the screen. This is a transformation of the mundane into something exceptional; a re-mix and rebirth of the simplistic to draw out the natural intrigue that always existed, but isn’t necessarily so easily discovered and appreciated.
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