15 Nov 2018

Ant Head (David Lynch, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼
 
 
Part myrmecophobic nightmare, part post-structural experiment (along the lines of Industrial Soundscape) and all an anti-music video for a couple of songs created in collaboration of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, Ant Head cements its creator's place amongst the boldest of filmmakers working today. This 13-minute short depicts a deformed head (think the Eraserhead baby's younger, more human brother) that is, reportedly, made of cheese and raw chicken meat, swarming with ants and recalling this writer's close encounter with a large troop of the said six-legged insects during their invasion on a chocolate spread pack.
 
Set against a high-contrast B&W backdrop of utility poles and transmission lines which stand frozen in time (confirming Lynch's obsession with electricity), the creepy fromage noggin turns into a negative-self once Frank 2000 gets abducted by Woodcutters From Fiery Ships (this is no code, but a direct reference to the tracks). The ear-piercing cacophony of avant-garde jazz noise which accompanies the bizarre visuals amplifies the atmosphere of gloom and decay, plunging you into a world parallel to that of the Black Lodge from the Twin Peaks series. A must-see-and-hear for the Lynch completists.


13 Nov 2018

Nepredviđeni - dani eksperimentalnog filma u Beogradu

Ove godine se održava treći međunarodni festival eskperimentalnog filma Nepredviđeni, a meni je pripala čast da budem jedan od članova žirija, pored Dragana Dimčića, profesora filmske montaže na Fakultetu dramskih umetnosti i Ivana Velisavljevića, filmskog kritičara i koautora knjige Kritički vodič kroz srpski film. Takmičarska selekcija obuhvata dvadeset sedam kratkometražnih ostvarenja iz različitih krajeva sveta, a organizatori najavljuju i posebne projekcije. Mesto i vreme dešavanja su Beograd, Centar za kulturnu dekontaminaciju, 16. i 17. novembar, a dodatne informacije možete dobiti na zvaničnoj ili Facebook stranici festivala.

11 Nov 2018

Chuma v aule Karatas / The Plague at the Karatas Village (Adilkhan Yerzhanov, 2016)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼

Set in a ramshackle fictitious village of idiotic dwellers, bizarre customs, bleeding walls, dancing shadows and seemingly eternal night (followed by a hopeless dawn), Adilkhan Yerzhanov's absurd, surrealistic drama peppered with wry, black humor serves as a hyperbolic allegory of a corrupted, self-destructive society (which also praises stupidity), and feels as if it were written by Kafka in delirium, adapted by Beckett high on antidepressants, and directed by Majewski's angsty twin who eschews camera movement in favor of oppressive mood, and has a knack for transforming his darkest dreams into a quirky, noirish, mythical, dimly lit and delightfully off-the-wall cinematic (un)reality.

9 Nov 2018

K'na, the Dreamweaver (Ida Anita Del Mundo, 2014)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

An exotic treat for everyone unfamiliar with the culture of the indigenous T'boli tribe of Philippines, K'na, the Dreamweaver weaves an archetypal, bittersweet story of love, loss, seemingly petty feuds and the importance of dreams into a fairy-tale-ish, placidly paced drama packed with an elegant, evoking string score by Diwa de Leon, nuanced performances that occasionally mimic non-professional naïveté, as well as with a handsome cinematography by Lee Meily whose camera lovingly captures the lush greenery of the setting, the intoxicating beauty of elaborately designed abacá costumes, and the arcane symbolism of local customs and traditions.

3 Nov 2018

Les garçons sauvages / The Wild Boys (Bertrand Mandico, 2017)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼(☼) out of 10☼
 
The expression 'boys will be boys' gets a whole new meaning in Bertrand Mandico's provoking feature debut which has five young and androgynous actresses portraying titular (anti)heroes. Brilliantly cast, Pauline Lorillard, Vimala Pons, Diane Rouxel, Anaël Snoek and Mathilde Warnier appear to have a whale of a time in the uninhibited roles of upper-class male adolescents whose heinous crime triggers a life-transforming adventure.

A private, ritual-esque performance of Macbeth turns into an orgy and ends in accidental murder of a beloved literature teacher (Nathalie Richard), with the culprits convicted at a 'simulacrum of a trial where they all lie wonderfully'. Initially separated, they are brought together when their rich families invite a Dutchman named 'The Captain' (Sam Louwyck) to execute the punishment. Claiming that he can 'transform any violent boy into a civilized and docile being', this mysterious man takes the 'erudite at will, but barbarian' brats to serve him on his dilapidated ship, as the story gradually becomes more bizarre and surreal, especially when they reach their port of call.

On a magical, paradise-like island where the crew lands, we encounter Dr Séverin(e) (Mandico's muse Elina Löwensohn, at the top of her game) whose secret is in correspondence with the film's gender-bending, politically incorrect, no-holds-barred properties. Without revealing any of the sticky, delightfully decadent and disturbingly erotic details, let's just say that The Wild Boys plays out like a twisted adaptation of The Lord of the Flies that has been influenced by Burroughs's writings, Classic Hollywood, La Nouvelle Vague, as well as by the transgressive works of Walerian Borowczyk and David Cronenberg. This bold, highly referential, somewhat paradoxical phantasmagoria fueled by irony and tongue-in-cheek wit also brings the names of Raúl Ruiz and Guy Maddin to mind, yet the peculiar world in which it's set strikes us as pretty idiosyncratic, not to mention unforgettable.

What makes it so immersive are its dirty, sweaty, gooey atmosphere and highly stylized visuals which comes as no surprise considering Mandico's short offerings such as Boro in the Box and Our Lady of Hormones. Boasting the unmistakable art direction, refreshingly 'quaint' in-camera and practical effects, as well as the exquisite black and white cinematography with occasional splashes of sultry, saturated colors à la Pink Narcissus, the film provides us with some sweet aural nectar and spicy brain snacks as well.