A joyfully outrageous slice of life in the slums set to a punky soundtrack, Mondomanila is a slap in the face of Western expectations of politely miserabilist depictions of the downtrodden. A hyper kinetic, super stylised wild carnival of the destitute, it follows a midget, a one-armed rapper, a ‘day-glo fairy’, a disabled pimp and their friends as they try to get as much sex and drugs as they can (‘the only solution to their problems’, we are told by main character Tony at the beginning) and tackle a racist white paedophile. A toothless showman opens this exuberant bad taste spectacle, promising something horrible and creepy, but the Mondo-style shockumentary aspect is underpinned by the crude reality of life in Manila, making the film vital and energising.
Sgt. Jinji is very interested in Yaeli, Mr. Hasson’s youngest daughter. After getting into a dispute with a fuming Mr. Hasson who falsely believed Jinji wanted to marry his eldest daughter, Jinji is kicked out of Mr. Hasson’s house. Having witnessed the scene, and unbeknownst to Mr. Hasson nor Jinji, Yaeli escapes too and hides in the back of Jinji’s jeep, intent to join him despite her father’s wishes.
On the way to his army base, Jinji picks up Konstanza, a shady businessman, who has been evading reporting to reserve duty for a while. Konstanza also happens to owe money to Mr. Hasson (due to a very dubious business deal gone awry), and Mr. Hasson decides to look for Konstanza to get his money back. All our characters end up in the middle of the desert at a small, somewhat improvised military base.
Mr.Freedom is a militaristic moron of a superhero. In his secret identity he is a United States sheriff, but when he enters his hidden closet hidden in his office behind a large American flag, he transforms into the patriotic superhuman. He takes orders from Doctor Freedom, the controller of Freedom Inc, who orders him to go to France and stop it from falling prey to the evils of Communism after the death of Freedom’s counterpart, Capitaine Formidable. Getting a less than rapturous welcome from the French, Mr.Freedom decides to save them all anyway…by destroying the entire country and everyone in it if he has to. Continue reading
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