| || |
The Passive Evisceration of the Blackened Soul
Some films make their message subtly through hints and nuance. Others beat you about the head. Those latter kind can be tough and painful, and The Passive Evisceration of the Blackened Soul is the kind of movie that slaps you hard enough to wake you up. From the brutal speed metal soundtrack, to the allegorical characters wearing paper bags with the stations they represent written on them, the film doesn't mince words or images. Instead, it beats you with them, which is something of the point. Nothing wakes up the viewer to their place in the world as much as being absolutely jolted to attention, and that's what director James Quinn has done.
Le Disque - Guillaume Vallée
As I watched Le Disque, I quickly found my mind turned to the American Avant Garde films I spoke of on Registry - A Podcast. This film, a woman dancing against a projected background, then heavily video-manipulated, brought to mind many of the films I'd talked about, including OffOn and Interwoven. The soundtrack, which reminded me of nothing so much as a record player needle being allowed to drag across the bare platter, adds to a disquieting sense of mourning that this seems to project. It is a layered film, and for five minutes, you're witnessing something in only peeks and hints. It's a well-done piece of contemporary Avant Garde. More at http://www.gvallee.com/pages/le-disque
Requiem for my Father - Quentin Perez
A naked man in the forrest. Search lights combing our field of vision. Our naked man screaming "J'taim Papa!" along with an increasingly frantic soundtrack amplifying the tension. This is what we encounter early on in Requiem for my Father. As the film progresses, it changes into a more naturalistic and lyrical film, as if our nude protagonist is coming to grips with the Stage of Grief, or perhaps more aptly, post-traumatic stress disorder. As such, the experiment this film represents is a powerful one, though it may be a bit much for the uninitiated. Director Quentin Perez and DP Aurelien Marra have created images that are so searing to be both challenging and enlightening.
You can see the trailer at https://vimeo.com/108140351
Mer Depre - Margaret Orr
Animation is an exceptionally important thing to me. Like most kids of the 1970s and 80s, I grew up watching cartoons, and when I aged, I discovered the more difficult cartoons that had been bubbling up in the underground from the likes of Harry Smith and Robert Breers. Mer Depre, by Margaret Orr, is an example of what is possible in the world of abstract animation. The organic, somewhat sticky, forms that inhabit the film gives an impression that seems almost oily against the screen, which brings with it powerful hints to experimentation of the past. Connections with films like Bad Burns, and Dwinell Grant's Composition 1 (Themis) hit me hard, and it made me want to delve further into Mer Depre, which continues the experimentation started in the days of 16mm avant garde animation.
You can find out more about Margaret Orr at http://margaret-orr.com
Harmony - Margaret Orr
Same filmmaker, but a completely different feel. Harmony is a story of two women as they grow from young girls to the grave. The style could not be further from that of Mer Depre, as it features bright color and Keith Haringlike characters. There's a sort of tribal feeling to those characters, perhaps enhanced by the xylophone and drum-based soundtrack that feels like those 1950s Jazz compositions that openly acknowledged their debt to traditional rhythms. The strength of the film is the joy it brings, not just through the explosion of color, but via the message of friendship through it all. That makes this piece of animation even a bit more magical.
You can find even more Margaret Orr at https://vimeo.com/margaretorr