by James Hansen
It might sound like an extended YouTube video gone array, but Zachary Oberzan’s Flooding With Love for the Kid – a feature length remake of First Blood shot inside a 220 square foot New York City apartment with a budget of $96 in which Oberzan plays every role – is more a (slightly schizophrenic) treatise on the illusions of film production and the (delusional?) wish fulfillment inherent in home video production. Oberzan pushes past his imposed conceptual parameters (including blatant artificiality where stuffed animals serve as forest creatures, Oberzan plays a pack of dogs, and a toaster stands in for a radio) to on full display his incredible passion for the project which propels its surprising effectiveness.
Flooding With Love for the Kid isn’t some narcissistic experiment made by Oberzan in hopes of 15-minutes of cult status. It’s an enthralling video precisely because of the intense emotion and love for the story, characters, and cinema that floods every image of its 107 minute running time. Amidst an emotionally devoid Hollywood prestige picture season, Flooding With Love for the Kid is a challenging, yet therapeutic reminder of what movies are, why they should be made in the first place, and what it actually takes to make them work.
An opening title card labels the movie as a “one man war” and, although the story of Rambo is a one man war by its own right, Oberzan’s singular war becomes more impactful. Closely following David Morrell’s novel, most importantly the bleak, impactful conclusion, Flooding With Love for the Kid serves as a metaphoric Rambo with cinematic production, just as the narrative of John Rambo follows suit with war. Without outside influence, Oberzan single-handedly fights the mores of the Hollywood action genre, spectatorial expectations, and artistic capability in a dire economic situation. A war is raging, but who and what does it take to keep fighting?
Oberzan plays the literal Rambo as his video situates itself as the figurative. A Rambo looking to the past for reference, but wildly fighting for some kind of [artistic] freedom and a fresh start. Flooding With Love for the Kid may not send shockwaves through the typically unsubstantive, non-sensical Hollywood action genre – elements the video mirrors for purpose of confrontation – but Oberzan’s video has the answers for what it takes to win a Rambo-esque war against an unflappable foe. It’s all in his title.