Dark Star Presents: ALL YOU CAN EAT BUDDHA (2017)
Ian Lagarde, the cinematographer for the previous Fantastic Fest selection VIC + FLO SAW A BEAR, presents his first feature endeavor. Stunningly shot at an all-inclusive beachside resort, it features the arrival of Mike, a hulk of a man who turns day-to-day operations upside down with his enigmatic presence. Not content to participate in the typical entertainment offered, Mike chooses to spend his days staring at the ocean and gorging on the all-you-can-eat dining options. After deciding to extend his stay, he quickly becomes the Bodhisattva of the buffet, performing what some well-tanned guests perceive as miracles.
ALL YOU CAN EAT BUDDHA is a soothing blend of beauty, mysticism and mesmeric imagery. As it draws you into the narrative and Mike’s world, the resort guests and his housemaid are drawn in as well. Lagarde has crafted a tale with a stronger emphasis on the esoteric emotionality of film, where the viewer, while presented with a very straightforward basic narrative, is given space for projection of their own allegorical beliefs. Much like staring at an ocean for hours (as the film’s central figure does) can produce a meditative state, so does ALL YOU CAN EAT BUDDHA. There’s a strong sense of subversive humor here, this interpretive, compelling and all-around curious tale will leave you with laughs, questions and a new love of cephalopods. (Noah Lee)