(No longer in theaters)
Chiemi Karasawa, Jennifer Venditti
Elephant Eye Films
Dec 5, 2007
Billy the Kid is a heartbreaking vérité documentary by Jennifer Venditti about a misfit Maine teenager—a film that makes you think about (and question) what fitting in really entails. Billy tries. He doesn’t naturally make eye contact (he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome after the movie was finished), but he talks—and talks—even when he doesn’t know how to gauge the responses of the people he’s talking to. He’s wildly enthusiastic about horror movies and books about serial killers, which one hopes are safe outlets for his aggression rather than designs for living. (He’s also pretty good at karate and electric guitar.) He solemnly informs the director that he doesn’t kill the women in video games and dreams about one day saving a damsel in distress.
Billy finds one in the movie named Heather, a waitress who’s partially blind and slightly overweight. “Just like her, I myself have a little condition,” he says to the camera. The girl is monosyllabic, so he chatters away about An American Werewolf in London and anything else that comes into his mind (“I hate buses, their shock absorbers aren’t very comfortable”) and falls head over heels, and we know—we know—that he’s setting himself up for something terrible. Watching him try to orient himself in a world that makes no sense makes you wonder how any of us ever did.