“SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE | writer-diretor, Matthew Bate
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Saturday, Jan. 22, 6:00 pm — Holiday Village Cinema IV]
My discovery and subsequent first listen to the secretly recorded Shut Up Little Man! tapes left me gobsmacked (“surprise” seems too nice a word, although it is the theme of this discussion). Hearing Peter and Raymond’s vitriolic arguments, their foul-mouthed insults and absolute PURE hatred for one another takes you into a world most of us will never experience. It’s captivating, like traveling past a bad road accident. It presents a similar moral conundrum: Should I be fascinated? Should I look/listen? Should I be laughing at their banter? Is this even legal? The tapes are hilarious and tragic, hovering on the boundary between art and exploitation. And this was a story you could never make up. Two young guys with everything to live for moving next door to two old men drinking and fighting to death. Connecting them was this illicit recording that accidentally became an underground sensation, making Pete and Ray famous without them ever knowing about it. As a filmmaker I’m interested in the kinds of gray areas this story existed in, and understanding my own and other people’s relationship with this kind of “entertainment” is what set me on the path to make the film.