subota, 9. rujna 2017.

Flying Lotus - Kuso (2017)

Kuso, komedija strahova.


A relatively tame moment for “Kuso,” all things considered. (Provided photo)

Some movies push the limit so far beyond the bounds of cinema that they exist merely as morbid spectacle—an irresistible dare upon the most sick-minded viewers. Kuso is one such movie. If that title isn’t yet familiar, you may have heard it referred to, instead, as the Flying Lotus film that incited mass walkouts at Sundance earlier this year. That may have been a slight exaggeration (FlyLo claimed on Twitter that only 20 out of 400 or so attendees fled), but walkouts will seem a completely reasonable reaction once you’ve actually seen this movie, available to stream starting tomorrow. Kuso becomes increasingly unbearable over the course of its 100-minute runtime that if you do end up staying for the whole thing, it may be just to avoid admission of defeat.
This is the debut feature from the electronic musician born Steven Ellison, who directorially goes by Steve and previously worked on short films and original soundtracks. Anyone who’s seen Flying Lotus live wouldn’t be surprised at his interest in the cinematic side of things. His shows are often disorienting sensory experiences fueled by 3D stage setups. And Kuso, for better or worse (actually, definitely worse), is one hell of a disorienting sensory experience—a visual orgy of pus and perversion.
Through a handful of confusing vignettes, one more disgusting than the last, Ellison portrays a post-apocalyptic world that makes other dystopian films resemble heaven on earth. The film begins with an earthquake that has left Los Angeles’ masses covered in boils and sores—a premise laid out in a musical number that feels like a zombie-fied take on the La La Land intro. Co-writing and starring in Kuso is David Firth, the animator best known for Internet sensation and proto meme Salad Fingers; he employs the same brand of dark humor here, with the grossness turned up to 11.
But it’s Ellison who brings their fucked-up creations to life, using his musical talents to underscore the visual viscerality. Kuso features new FlyLo songs (in the vein of his recent output), as well as new work from Aphex TwinThundercat, Japanese video game composer Akira Yamaoka, Busdriver, and more. The atmospheric compositions emphasize the film’s surreality, and are often accompanied by the squishing, crunching sound effects of whatever body horror is happening on screen. Then there are occasional music video-like segments in between such scenes, including a rap number culminating in a shockingly graphic moment (even for this film).
It may be tempting to compare Kuso to the gory greatness of David Cronenberg, whose creatures from Naked Lunch would feel right at home here. But there’s too much aimless sucking and slobbering. What is really being said when a cockroach crawls out of the ass of a doctor (played by George Clinton, natch), serenades a patient, and cures the man of his inexplicable fear of boobs? Or when Tim Heidecker’s butt gyrates on the screen as he’s fucking a deformed blow-up doll? (It is truly one of the unsexiest sex scenes in the history of cinema.) Or, in a truly unwatchable porno segment, when a man fucks a talking sore on a woman’s neck, which later, covered in cum, growls, “I love the taste of you”? Kuso eventually just becomes a laundry list of vomit-inducing scenes.
Perhaps just trying not to barf during this squalid feast will make you forget to laugh during Kuso’s dark comedy parts. Though there was one tongue-in-cheek meta moment that deserves a chuckle at best—“I fucking hate this movie,” a woman says while watching a TV segment of a penis being stabbed repeatedly. “This is art,” responds her furry alien friend (voiced by Hannibal Buress). “This? This is garbage,” the woman says. “Art is garbage.” It’s just the kind of response a viewer taking in this senseless obscenity might have. Later, the woman and her furry friends are seen cheering as a dick is pierced with a rod—capturing another breed of Kuso watcher, to be sure.
Kuso is not devoid of all merit, however. Ellison has created a singular and convincing universe—no matter how repulsive it may be. And he brings rhythmicity to his film that only a director well-versed in music could. There are also impressive animation segments that break up the movie, and collage-like asides that resemble nightmarish deep dives into YouTube’s darkest corners. Maybe Kuso becomes coherent on a second or third viewing, but few would (or should) attempt such torture. But will we still keep an eye on whatever fucked-up films Steve still has in store? We’re afraid so. - Kristen Yoonsoo Kim

četvrtak, 7. rujna 2017.

Radu Jude - Țara moartă / Dead nation (2017)

Povijest se u raspada već na početku, a ne tek s protokom vremena.

A film constructed using the opposition of what a huge collection of recently discovered glass-plate photographs from the 30's and 40's tell us about Romania and what they do not show.

2 imagini: portrete

De buletin

Radu Jude's documentary on anti-semitism in 1930s-1940s Romania featured in the edgy Signs of Life section of the Swiss festival.
There are currently few more unpredictable careers in European cinema than that of Romania's Radu Jude, who takes a quietly stunning segue into non-fiction territory with his fifth feature-length work, The Dead Nation (Tara Moarta). An essayistic juxtaposition of historical materials from Jude's native land during the turbulent and bloody period from 1937 to 1946, it premiered at home in June before bowing internationally in the Signs of Life sidebar at the Locarno Film Festival. Dealing in an intelligent and original manner with anti-semitism and nationalistic propaganda in the context of "ordinary" folks' lives, it deserves wide exposure at documentary-oriented festivals and far beyond.
Best known for the multi-award-winning short The Tube With a Hat (2006) plus well-received period-set features Aferim! (2015) and Scarred Hearts (2016), Jude again draws on Romania's problematic, persecution-blighted past with The Dead Nation, subtitled Fragments of Parallel Lives.
As assembled by Jude's regular editor Catalin Cristutiu over a brisk, lean 83 minutes, the film's structure sensitively interweaves three main strands. The visuals are drawn from a cache of some 8,600 photographs taken at a professional studio in the town of Slobozia, in the country's southeast corner.

Costica Acsinte's 'Foto Splendid' company was evidently patronized primarily by the ordinary folk of this rural district, who pose in their workaday dress (farmers are often snapped in the company of their prized livestock) or strut in military uniforms.  
Jude makes a superb, illuminating selection from this treasure trove. The limpid clarity of the glass-plate monochrome portraits, teeming with detail, contrasts with some ragged edges and other manifestations of historical wear-and-tear. During particularly fraught passages of Dorian's text Jude includes photographs which have decayed into eerie abstraction; showing appropriate restraint, he "illustrates" a section about the gassing of Jews with an interlude of uninterrupted blackness.
The soundtrack, meanwhile, features extracts from radio broadcasts and rabble-rousing patriotic anthems as Romania steadily tumbles into the Fascist abyss after Octavian Goga's rise to power in late 1937. We also hear — via Jude's own narration — extended quotations from the diaries of Dr. Emil Dorian, a Jewish doctor in Bucharest whose Romanian-language Jurnal was partially translated into English as The Quality of Witness. 
The chronicles of Dorian (emphatically not to be confused with the better-known poet Emil Cioran) provide an eloquent eyewitness account of the daily reality for the capital's Jewish citizens. The net of oppression closes in; deportations to distant death-camps commence; the horrors of genocide gradually become apparent. Striking in its aesthetic purity, with beautiful images placed in the context of scarcely conceivable horrors, the film is a multi-dimensional snapshot of history. It offers an intense, sometimes poetic engagement with found materials, arranged in a manner which invites multiple interpretations.

"Human cruelty has never been so ferocious," opines Dorian, his mood oscillating between grim stoicism and suicidal despair as he copes with "an endless season whose days are gray, cold and bloodstained." The doctor's testimony is, as he puts it, "torn between poetry and reality," and while the English-language subtitles on the DCP shown at Locarno provided an approximate precis of his harrowing prose, it was apparent even to non-Romanian-speakers that much was being elided.

It is to be hoped that a more exhaustive subtitle file will be provided for the film's subsequent screenings. And there will surely be many. The Dead Nation is a disarmingly simple idea, executed with a bold artistic flair that straddles experimental and more traditional documentary techniques; Jude has pulled off that rare feat of crafting a highly accessible but complex, ambiguous and significant work of cinematic art. - Neil Young  -

2 imagini: portrete
Bărbat cu pistol
Tînără în costum popular
Trei femei
Tînără cu pisică
Calul său
Femeie cu poșetă