If you’ve never seen a movie by the Kuchar Brothers, you really should. When George and Mike Kuchar were in their heyday, their work was the epitome of 1960s underground cinema: 8mm, no budget, wild ideas, wilder content. Unless you went to film school or lived near a cool theater or museum? They were almost impossible to see. Now? They’re a click away on YouTube. Which is the perfect forum for the Kuchars’ work: it’s short, low-fi, and bursting with energy and ideas. In a way, the Kuchars were YouTube before YouTube. They didn’t go to film school. They got a camera as a gift when they were 12 and just started shooting.
Sadly, David Hudson over at The Daily reports that George Kuchar passed away last night at the age of 69. Kuchar made his first movies with his brother in the 1950s and basically never stopped. His Wikipedia page says he directed over 200 films, including projects he made as part of classes he taught at the San Francisco Art Institute. Kuchar’s work has directly and indirectly inspired generations of filmmakers; John Waters routinely credited the Kuchars with inspiring his trashy aesthetic.
For more on Kuchar’s life and impact on the world of film read this indieWIRE obituary by Bradford Nordeen. And if you are a Kuchar novice, head over to YouTube. Start with George’s most famous film, “Hold Me While I’m Naked” and take it from there. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can also watch a very good documentary about the Kuchars, “It Came From Kuchar” on Watch Instantly. Here is its trailer: