Some university students change their views on sex after hearing a lecture on the blind Syrian philosopher Al-Maarri. He gets his way with one of them after sneaking what I imagine is rufees into one of their drinks which has disastrous consequences. After going to some wild bellydancing parties they are ensnared by a polyester-clad drug-dealer and womanizer/rapist. The victims’ friends plan to avenge her with the help of the local police. Includes numerous musical numbers and belly dancing scenes.
How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s indescribable 1977 movie House (Hausu)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? Any of the above will do for this hallucinatory head trip about a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home and comes face-to-face with evil spirits, a demonic house cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions, all realized by Obayashi via mattes, animation, and collage effects. Equally absurd and nightmarish, House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet. Never before available on home video in the United States, it’s one of the most exciting cult discoveries in years. Continue reading
Chris Marker, filmmaker, poet, novelist, photographer, editor, and now videographer and digital multimedia artist, has been challenging moviegoers, philosophers, and himself for years with his complex queries about time, memory, and the rapid advancement of life on this planet. Sans Soleil is his mind-bending free-form travelogue that journeys from Africa to Japan.
In this elliptical ensemble piece, which marks the directorial debut of indie bad boy Harmony Korine, the teens of tornado-scarred Xenia, OH, kill cats, tape their boobies, arm-wrestle, bathe, cross-dress, huff glue, avoid perverts, pay to have sex with retarded girls, lift makeshift dumbbells to the strains of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” fight, cuss, shave their eyebrows, undergo cancer treatment, euthanize senior citizens, and pee on passing cars. A hallucinatory barrage of images and scenarios with little in the way of traditional plot, Gummo has been variously described as a surrealist joke, a visual poem, and a worm’s-eye view of white-trash suffering. The main characters include Solomon (Jacob Reynolds), who sells cat carcasses to a middleman who procures them for use at a local Chinese restaurant; his mother (Linda Manz), who teaches him to tap dance while reminiscing about her dead husband; Tummler (Nick Sutton), a mullet-haired local sex symbol; a midget (Bryant L. Crenshaw); a pair of boy-crazy, bleach-blond sisters named Dot (Chloe Sevigny) and Helen (Carisa Bara); a slut with a lump in her breast (Lara Tosh); a group of drunken louts; and Bunny Boy (Jacob Sewell), who wanders the town enigmatically in a pair of long pink ears. In between scenes of these characters enacting their bizarre routines, Korine intersperses impressionistic and quasi-documentary scenes with voice-over narration that ranges from incest memoirs to arty dialogue along the lines of “He’s got what it takes to be a legend: He’s got a marvelous persona.” Shot just outside Nashville, TN, Gummo includes costume designs by Korine’s then-girlfriend, Chloe Sevigny, who also plays Dot and who previously starred in the Korine-scipted, Larry Clark-directed Kids. Jacob Reynolds would go on to appear in Getting to Know You, though few of the director’s other discoveries have appeared on film since.___by Brian J. Dillard Continue reading
Before the art duo Pierre et Gilles, before fashion photographer David LaChapelle, before the artist Jeff Koons, and before the neo-Pop movement broke, there was director James Bidgood and his film PINK NARCISSUS. A cult classic, it is so considered more for its highly artistic production values than for its narrative.
The film is essentially a piece of gay erotica (more erotic than explicit) about an impossibly handsome young man (played by Bobby Kendall), obsessed with his own beauty and youth, who escapes the realities of street life through intricately choreographed fantasies in which he portrays a Roman slave, a matador, a wood nymph, and a harem boy. Characterized by searingly bright colors and highly stylized visual elements (sets, props, and costumes), Bidgood’s design for the film has been endlessly emulated by commercials and photographers to this day. PINK NARCISSUS is a “must see” for anyone interested in contemporary art, the pre-Stonewall sensibility, or the history of underground film.
Leonora, a prostitute, mourns the death by drowning years earlier of her daughter. She encounters a strange waif-like girl, Cenci, who bears a strong resemblance to her lost child. Cenci is herself struck by the great resemblance of Leonora to her own mother, whose death the mentally unstable Cenci has been unable to accept or even acknowledge. The two women quickly develop a symbiotic relationship, moving in and out of the illusion that each is the lost loved one of the other. The complicating factor is the arrival of Albert, Cenci’s stepfather, whose incestuous attachment to her may well be the cause of her mind’s unbalance. With Albert’s arrival, no one in the strange trio is safe. Continue reading