The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. For more information on films playing in the Cinémathèque, please call 773-281-4114. To order advance tickets online, visit the TicketWeb website by clicking here.
Chicago Theatrical Premiere
OFF THE GRID: LIFE ON THE MESA
"The Stulbergs, whose film's stunning look is a combination of good cinematography and a majestic New Mexican landscape, achieved marvelous access to what has to be a very closed and insular community" -Variety
"The film is a scant 70 minutes, yet it embraces a broad range of people and ideas." -Chicago Tribune
"From earth mothers to war vets, divorced dads to teen runaways, these fierce individualists have found community, staving off both right-wing cops and marauding radical vegans." -Chicago Reader
Welcome to The Mesa, a remote community hidden in the stunning but brutal environs of the rural Southwest -- untroubled by the burdens of modern civilization: no electricity, no running water, no law, and no law enforcement. The "largest free-range insane asylum in America," the Mesa is inhabited by 300-plus PTSD-ridden vets, runaways, survivalists, and other varieties of outlaws and optimists -- all committed to living without restraint in an unvarnished version of the original American dream. Both idyllic and anarchic, the community of outsiders includes a range of unforgettable personalities engaged in the challenge of good neighborliness, smoking guns, and smoking dope. At the Mesa, the desert residents may approve of vigilantism in principle -— "we don't dial 911," says one, "we dial .357." The Stulberg siblings have crafted an exquisite study of this utterly astonishing experiment in American self-invention and provide a fascinating look at what is possibly the last outpost of the American Wild West. Gorgeous images complement a complete narrative, a well defined moral center, and a cast of real characters who will both inspire and terrify you. They documented not just the alternative community but also the many stories of the disparate individuals who exist at the intersection of utopian ideals and post-apocalyptic nightmares.
Directed by Jeremy and Randy Stulberg, 2007, U.S.A., BetaSP, 70 mins.