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Black comedy impresses at Cinequest

Daniel Arnold, left, and Ben Cotton star in the film

Courtesy of Ameland Films

Daniel Arnold, left, and Ben Cotton star in the film "Lawrence & Holloman," which screened at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose last month.

Mitchell Walther, Staff writer

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The Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose has come and gone. More than 80 movies had their debuts there last month.

I had a chance to go see about 15 of them, and there was a lot of good stuff to see. From movies about ’80s hair bands to serial-killing ambulance drivers, every genre was represented, and every outlet had a voice to be heard.

During the second week, I had a chance to go see “Lawrence & Holloman.” Directed by Matthew Kowalchuk and starring Ben Cotton and Daniel Arnold, this “feel-bad comedy of the year” was an entertaining and fantastic satire on life itself.

Focusing on two salesmen, one a pessimist and one an optimist, this movie wove clever wordplay around an increasingly ridiculous tale of revenge and disgust.

Easily deserving the title of “dark comedy,” suicide and misfortune are played largely for laughs while this movie asks us to consider the weight of fate and friends in our lives. What it means to be happy and the consequences of such a pursuit are largely the themes at play.

With great performances all around, “Lawrence & Holloman” tugs on your heartstrings while barely giving you a chance to breathe between jokes.

As far as independent films go, this is one you should rent if you have a chance. Pending a U.S. theatrical release, this Canadian-funded film is making its rounds from film festival to film festival.

If you didn’t get a chance to check out any of the movies at Cinequest this year, many will find a home on Netflix in the coming months. And if you happen across it at your movie theater, be sure to step in and watch “Lawrence & Holloman.”

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Black comedy impresses at Cinequest