Sundance 2023: ‘Gush’: Everyone Should Make a Movie


(Courtesy Fox Maxy)

By Luke Jackson


“Everyone should make a movie” said filmmaker Fox Maxy after the screening of her experimental film “Gush.” “The tools are right there, it’s exciting, it’s healing, it’s hard. Everyone should make a movie.”

Gush” is a 71-minute kaleidoscope of a film that is both engaging and off-putting. There is no pause in sounds or visuals throughout the entire run time. Maxy stitches together 15 years’ worth of personal and found footage to create a collage of madness. While there is no traditional narrative, images of brains, blood, heart, cigarettes, dogs, cameras, festivals, fashion, driving and dancing are repeated throughout.

“It doesn’t translate, but that’s okay.”

“The film was made out of disgust” Maxy said. “But not with the intention of that disgust vibrating to the audience. It makes sense to me, and it doesn’t translate, but that’s okay.”

Experimental films are among the most interesting art the medium of film produces. The essential idea is to confuse what our definition of narrative is and explore what we can do with a camera. In “Gush,” Maxy, rather masterfully, plays with the idea of being a human in a time where we have immediate access to recording devices.

A majority of the people we interact with have cameras in their pocket. Our conversations, our weirdness and our humanity can quickly and seamlessly be put on immediate display. Maxy captures this phenomenon while also exploring the horror show it is to be a human.

Pursue Your Weirdness

“Gush” as a term, is two-fold. We can gush blood, but we can also gush about what we love. This dichotomy was at the center of Maxy’s beautiful abstraction. Our bodies are squishy and fragile. The fragility and temporariness of our bodies is what can motivate passion and love. At any moment, it can all be over. Our time should be spent in the pursuit of whatever weird thing it is we enjoy.

“Gush” is one of the weirder Sundance entries I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. It’s not often I seek out experimental films as I very rarely understand them. However, as I exited the Egyptian Theatre back into the brisk Park City air, I can’t deny that I felt inspired.

A Strange Experience

Since my viewing, I have thought about “Gush” often. It still evokes a strange mix of discomfort and inspiration. Part of me wants to try and create my own kaleidoscope and stitch together the meaningful parts of my own life.

If anything, through “Gush” I’ve learned that experimental films are truly the filmmaker’s playground. The movie wasn’t made for anyone other than the creator. After five minutes of being bull-rushed by seemingly random clips and soundbites, I had to stop trying to figure out what was going on. I wasn’t supposed to be making complete sense of what I was being shown. When I moved on from trying to force a narrative, I was opened up to how the film spoke to me personally.

“Gush” is sure to polarize its audiences. It’s difficult to recommend as it is impossible to predict a reaction. I truly believe it is worth the watch, but the truth is, you may absolutely despise it, and that’s okay.


[email protected]