The Zellner Brothers' DAMSEL Opens This Week. Here's What the Critics (and Robert Pattinson) are Saying

Star Mia Wasikowska and writer-director-costar David Zellner in DAMSEL

Visit the AFS Cinema Thursday, June 28th for a special premiere screening of DAMSEL. Austin-based writer-directors David and Nathan Zellner will join us for a special screening with a Q&A and a special post-screening DJ Set by The Octopus Project. The film opens for a full run on Friday, June 29.

The Zellner Brothers have been making wonderful, highly individual films for years, from their earliest short films, their breakthrough feature GOLIATH, KID-THING, the widely acclaimed KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER, and more. Along the way, they have become among the best-known and most appreciated independent filmmakers of their generation.

In their latest feature, DAMSEL, the Zellners, and their cast; which includes Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, and a miniature horse; invest the Western genre with some really strange twists and of course their trademark narrative perversity.

The film received the NYT Critic’s Pick stamp from Jeannette Catsoulis who says, “DAMSEL handily encapsulates the tone of a movie that turns the classic western into something wackily eccentric and entertainingly original.”

Entertainment Weekly's Dana Schwartz calls it "unpredictable and bizarre, stunningly beautiful and weird in the best ways."

In Richard Whittaker’s Austin Chronicle feature story, David Zellner says, "It's fun playing with the gray areas. Most of the time people are a combination of good and bad, depending on the situation or the perspective."

David and Nathan have been making movies together since they were kids. In this interview on the No Film School Podcast, they look back on their early days wrestling with clunky VHS cameras. They talk us through their organic, collaborative method of writing DAMSEL, even name-dropping AFS a few times as a way for a young filmmaker to get access to professional film gear (thanks, guys). David ends the interview with advice to young artists, “Don’t be afraid to fail, keep exploring.”

Meanwhile, on the Tonight Show, Robert Pattinson struggles to find the right words to define the basically undefinable comedy in DAMSEL, ultimately calling it, “Real, it’s real.” Watch the awkward exchange here.