Saturday, January 22, 2011

Many films were seen

One was melodramatic, the rest bizarre, even purposeless:

All the Sins of Sodom (Joseph W. Sarno, 1968)
Another sexploitation chore to get through but, as always with Sarno, powered by a constant amazement that the raincoat crowd could have possibly gotten off on this stuff. Exit polls were obviously out of the question (check out how far the reporter gets outside a porn theater in John Waters' Polyester). So we'll never know for sure if the occasional boobage and softcore action did the trick or if the going nowhere chatter that takes up 80% of the screen time prevented any release. For All the Sins of Sodom, Sarno up the coitus interruptus factor by situating the chatter in fields of pure black or white, evacuating any sense of coherent space. It's almost as if he were nihilistically raging against the imperative of having to have a story in the first place.

Still, the film is fascinating in its nothingness, particularly Sarno's unmotivated stationary camera which compels the characters to walk up to it.

Vera (Francisco Athié, 2003)
A man dies in a mining accident. Psychedelia ensues in a purgatory. Basically a succession of frequently gorgeous surrealistic images such as this ever-morphing Fun Tunnel/birthing canal, Vera slips into the Jodorowsky-esque now and then.

But the image that's stayed with me the longest is one of the simplest - a charmingly cliché alien helps the man dry off after a swim.

Svatá Jana (Saint Jane) (Elo Havetta, 1963)
A (potentially hip?) girl appears left out of a party where people discuss Speedy Gonzalez and Paul Klee. The cluttered mise-en-scène leaves the soundtrack unfettered and oppressive. An omelet is made. Eventually someone play the piano. The girl seems to perk up a bit. But her smile looks forced, pained. 7 minutes of delicious huh?.

My Surfing Lucifer (Kenneth Anger, 2009) - "A tribute to my surfing pal Adolph Bunker Spreckels III." The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" over surfing footage. Hope it performed some magick for the litigious one.

Beobachtungen einer Postproduktion (Observations on a Post-production) (Björn Last, 2009)
What it says, all blurred and jump cut.

La Maleta (Raoul Ruiz, 1963)
Ruiz's first film based on his play that was staged by Victor Jara. Proves cinema's greatest trickster had a knack for doubling and language games from the very beginning.

La cieca di Sorrento (The Blind Woman of Sorrento) (Nunzio Malasomma, 1934)
This was the melodramatic one, a perfect counterpart to Magnificent Obsession. Starring the ashen eyes of Anna Magnani.

Frank Stein (Iván Zulueta, 1972)
My fave of this bunch. Frankenstein filmed off of TV and retold in three minutes of lurches forward and creepy freeze-frames. Waaaay scarier than the original.