Archives for posts with tag: art film

Mister Johnson

Australian filmmaker Bruce Beresford, after scoring a critical hit and box office success with Driving Miss Daisy in 1989, made the rather idiosyncratic decision – and not a commercially beneficial one, as it turned out – to travel to Nigeria to direct a film version of the Joyce Cary novel Mister Johnson. These, moreover, were turbulent, putsch-plagued years for Nigeria, and Beresford’s recollections of working in the country, expressed during an interview he granted for Mister Johnson’s Criterion Blu-ray release, were, I thought, sufficiently interesting to share with readers:

Filming in Nigeria at that time was a nightmare. […] Moving around was hell. For me, it was a great change from when I’d been there in the sixties, to when I was there in 1990 or whenever it was, because when I was there in the first place, it had only been independent [from the British Empire] for a little over a year, and they still had postal services and phones and the trains ran and there were traffic police and all the usual sort of things; but when I was back there in the nineties, nothing like that was there anymore. There was no post. Um, there was no traffic police. In fact, the police never seemed to be around. The roads were littered with dead people who’d been hit in car accidents. There was no supervision over anything. Um, it was very chaotic. And, uh, sometimes you’d be driving, like, to a location and a uniformed man would stop you and pull you out of the car and, um, pour petrol over you and hold up a lighted match and say, “We want money.” Which you would give them. It would be very advisable to give it to them. And it was fairly, pretty tense, quite often. A couple of times I thought we weren’t going to get out of there.

But, hey, at least the man got his prestige project finished – and the international critical establishment loved it (even if African-Americans thought it was racist), with star Maynard Eziashi becoming the second black performer after Sidney Poitier to win the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin International Film Festival, racking up another indispensable victory for the vibrant!

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies – the DEFINITIVE Alt-Right statement on Hollywood!

Paul Morrissey

Paul Morrissey

Mention Paul Morrissey and movies about transvestites, heroin addicts, and other varieties of lowlife are likely to come to mind; but the director of such films as Flesh (1968) and Heat (1972) holds very different views than one might assume from a first impression of these films and from his professional association with Andy Warhol. “Staunchly conservative, Morrissey still frowns upon the moral and artistic state of America today,” writes Steve Ryfle, who interviewed the filmmaker in 2000. Rather, Morrissey’s vintage films reflect his view that “modern American life was going down the toilet.”1 David Bahr of The New York Times writes:

Paul Morrissey disdains rock music, abhors recreational drugs and thinks even less of liberal politics. When asked his views on sex, he pauses for a moment, looks his inquisitor in the eye and says: “I’m Catholic. I’m with Rome 100 percent.”

Such sentiments may seem surprising coming from a director whose films luxuriate in the libertine lives of heroin users, masturbating transvestites and polymorphous-perverse male prostitutes. Yet Mr. Morrissey – who from 1966 to 1972 directed more than half a dozen movies produced by Andy Warhol, discovered the avant-garde rock band the Velvet Underground and once saw a court label his work “obscene, vulgar and profane” – believes he’s misunderstood, to say nothing of misrepresented.2

Morrissey situates his work outside the counterculture and characterizes it instead as his disapproving reaction to the general collapse of morality as it occurred around him:

There’s something I realized years later, after I had made all the films, although I probably realized it at the time even though I wasn’t conscious of it. At that time, there was this idea that was just coming in – the media was just getting hold of it, and the music world was just screaming its lungs out about how great it was – saying you could do whatever you want. That was really idiotic, and stupid and foolish and silly, unbelievably stupid.

People, by the late sixties, were doing whatever they felt like, and nobody gave a damn.

“I understood that these people were good story material, good subjects to show where life had gotten to, and how pathetic it was,” Morrissey explains.3 Blood for Dracula (1974), for instance, imagines a future-shocked traditionalist vampire (Udo Kier) who despairs of finding virgin blood to drink in the sexually free and easy 1970s, while Trash (1970) depicts the boredom of heroin dependency. “So much of the culture glamorized drugs at the time,” remarks frequent Morrissey leading man Joe Dallesandro. “Paul wanted to show the seedier side, where it all led to.”4 Women in Revolt (1972), which utilizes a cast of transvestites for satirical purposes, mocks the increasingly noisy and confrontational feminist movement of the day. “I thought it would be funny if they were playing women who were converted to lesbianism by the women’s lib movement,” Morrissey says. “The whole women’s thing was so ridiculous. ‘We don’t need men,’ and all that.”5

The director envisioned his Madame Wang’s (1981) as a satire of nonexistent American values and the decline of Western Civilization:

The huge Masonic Temple was a Greek temple, it represented past culture, and it was abandoned and lived in by derelict female impersonators. That was my take on Americans, especially Southern California Americans. They couldn’t care less about anything, except maybe getting up in drag or doing a punk rock show and screaming and throwing themselves on the floor. And the poor Russian agent comes from East Germany and says, “I’ve got to meet Jane Fonda, we’re taking over this country one day, and we have to have all of our operatives in place and I’m one of them.” And everyone says, “great, so what?”6

Morrissey gives the following explication of his comedy flop Spike of Bensonhurst (1988), in which his “pain in the ass” protagonist (Sasha Mitchell) “treats everybody like dirt, and does whatever he wants”:

The little switcheroo, which I thought was the point of the story, was that finally when someone disciplines him it turns out to be the best thing that happens to him. The idea that there are some standards and a sense of order in the world somewhere […]7

Like so many avowed conservatives in American politics, however, Morrissey’s work reveals his complicity in the projects of the culture destroyers even as he professes traditionalism. The mundane drugs-and-drag depravity of his classic oeuvre, while successfully illustrating the emptiness of the revolutions in sexuality and consciousness that had been engineered during the 1960s, also serves to normalize the ascendant dysfunction.

“Life is so second rate now,” Morrissey assesses.

And that idea that life has degenerated to a second rate position was part of the story to all those movies. I still don’t see that as a story element in any other movies – the obvious fact that life today is so much poorer than it was before. And I don’t think you can tell that story unless you’re aware that there’s a difference now. Most people don’t even know there’s a difference between today and before.8

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Endnotes

  1. Ryfle, Steve. “Life Is a Toilet: The Films of Director Paul Morrissey”. Shock Cinema 17 (Fall-Winter 2000), p. 18.
  2. Bahr, David. “Conservative Bard of the Demimonde”. The New York Times (February 27, 2000): http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/27/movies/film-conservative-bard-of-the-demimonde.html?pagewanted=all
  3. Ryfle, Steve. “Life Is a Toilet: The Films of Director Paul Morrissey”. Shock Cinema 17 (Fall-Winter 2000), p. 18.
  4. Bahr, David. “Conservative Bard of the Demimonde”. The New York Times (February 27, 2000): http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/27/movies/film-conservative-bard-of-the-demimonde.html?pagewanted=all
  5. Ryfle, Steve. “Life Is a Toilet: The Films of Director Paul Morrissey”. Shock Cinema 17 (Fall-Winter 2000), p. 20.
  6. Ibid., p. 21.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid., p. 19.
Label

Kira Mathis and Mary Krasnoperova sulk in Jaschar Marktanner’s short “LABEL”

Jaschar L Marktanner’s 2014 short “LABEL” features a pair of German women (Kira Mathis and Mary Krasnoperova) giving voice to various seemingly petty grievances over cigarettes and coffee in a café – the caffeine, nicotine, and complaints constituting addictive and what might be considered quintessentially “First World problems”. Cigarettes never last long enough, the coffee cups are too small, and so forth. This man and that man, the women continuously gripe, are bastards and sons of bitches. Nothing, in short, is as they desire it. The viewer is left to speculate: what is the source of this ennui? What, furthermore, informs their apparent loathing of men?

Significantly, the film opens with a quotation from the Austrian author Heimito von Doderer, who for a time espoused National Socialism: “In a good conversation the pauses are as important as the talking itself.” The viewer, then, is invited to find the meaning in what is left unsaid between the two morose conversationalists. Germany, which since 1945 has not been a truly sovereign nation, today more than ever lives under a hostile occupation. The women allude, perhaps unconsciously, to the demographic disaster being perpetrated against their people in their ambiguous talk about “aliens”. A subservient German establishment, publicly represented by Zionist puppets like Chancellor Angela Merkel, has, in its complicity in the implementation of the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan for the dysgenic reconfiguration of Europe, reduced the continent’s once-proud men to powerless and effeminized cuckolds. “Did you just see that wanker?” Krasnoperova asks. “Waitressing is just a job for a true son of a bitch.” “Cigarettes are so crippled,” Mathis observes on the subject of this phallic insufficiency. Germany’s women, moreover, are mere shiksa livestock, a degradation symbolized by Krasnoperova’s nose ring (Jeff Lieberman’s classic short “The Ringer” comes to mind).

Two pictures hung on the wall behind them – a horse and butterfly – are images representative of the natural order, free and beautiful archetypes of masculine and feminine actualization that contrast with the morbid and sterile reality of the generic urban setting. “That’s how them up there want to keep things rolling,” Krasnoperova says with reference to an unnamed and remote elite. “Holding us pawns down.” “Just some real sons of a bitch,” agrees Mathis. “Yeah, and nobody’s doing anything about it,” Krasnoperova continues. “Something must be done about that,” the other declares. “Yeah, but there are only spazzes. What is there left to do?” At this point the two women indict the audience in its complaisance by breaking the fourth wall and glaring directly into the camera.

Label 2

The viewer is implicated.

Once the waiter approaches and asks if everything was alright, however, the women instantly change their tune, feigning smiles and reassuring him that “everything was great.” The pair finds themselves constrained by Europeans’ pathological sense of propriety – the self-destructive determination not to be the cause of offense. “What a freak,” Krasnoperova says of him after he goes away. “Just a typical victim of the society of sons of a bitch,” diagnoses Mathis. Notwithstanding their discontent and the impending death of their civilization, they cannot bring themselves to address problems openly. Like Marktanner himself, they find means of communicating under regimes of censorship. The status quo, however, if continued to fester and to dismantle their civilization, will start to present Europeans with fewer First World problems than quandaries of the Third World variety.

4 out of 5 stars.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Two Days One Night

Deux Jours, Une Nuit is a dreary and mundane French “art” film directed by Belgium’s Dardenne brothers. Marion Cotillard, whom American audiences may remember as the femme fatale Miranda in The Dark Knight Rises, stars as Sandra, a working mother whose poor psychological health has kept her at home and away from her job for some time. In her absence, her boss has given her coworkers an offer they find hard to refuse: either take Sandra back at their present wage rate, or agree to terminate her in exchange for a raise for everyone else. Due to irregularities in the circumstances of their initial decision, which has (unsurprisingly) gone against her, the workers are to be given a chance to hold a second vote. Sandra now has one weekend – the two days and one night of the title – to locate and approach each of her coworkers to convince them to take her back and forfeit the promised raise.

Nothing about Sandra, who suffers from depression and spends most of the movie moping, despairing, and gobbling Xanax tablets, is particularly interesting, and one suspects that this is intentional; she stands for the common person who is too often forgotten. Scenes of her intermittently breaking down and being encouraged by her sensitive husband (Fabrizio Rongione) to persevere and not to give up on her peers and their dormant capacity for selflessness are, unfortunately, somewhat repetitive, and not the strongest material to support an entire feature film. What ultimately saves and elevates Two Days, One Night above the level of tedium is the earnestness of the film’s key performances.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Two Days, One Night is:

6. Anti-American. The selfish Julien (Laurent Caron), a collaborationist co-conspirator with the workplace management, wears a “USA” patch on his shirt, perhaps signifying his sympathy with neoliberalism.

5. Anti-marriage. Sandra’s coworker Anne (Christelle Cornil) determines to leave her husband after years of being bullied.

4. Anti-drug. Sandra’s abuse of Xanax is worrying to her husband, whose concerns are shown to be warranted when she attempts suicide with an overdose.

3. Pro-union. The filmmakers, in an interview featured on the Criterion Blu-ray, say that their intent was to illustrate the “savagery” of companies whose workforces are not unionized. “We thought that with a nonunion company, we’d be closer to the raw truth of the social situation people experience today.”

2. Ostensibly anti-capitalistic, with workers pitted against each other by capital.

1. Dysgenic, pro-immigration, and crypto-corporate. Two Days, One Night is fundamentally disingenuous and misleading in framing the plight of the western worker as an individual rather than a national-racial dilemma. People are, of course, individuals on one level of their experience; but the inundation of European and European-descended peoples with Third World undesirables is precisely what has suppressed the typical worker’s wages and standard of living. In the end, when the tables are turned, and Sandra has the option of taking her job back on the stipulation that Alphonse (Serge Koto), an African, will be terminated, viewers are expected to be inspired that Sandra, playing the good goy, makes the wrong decision and sacrifices her own livelihood to save the congoid. Two Days, One Night goes out of its way to depict non-white immigrants as gentle, helpful souls and credits to their new communities, and even includes an African doctor (Tom Adjibi) who saves Sandra’s life after her overdose. To this extent, then, the film promotes a de facto corporate-state agenda.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY SIX

Leviathan

Writer-director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan tells the story of Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov), a rustic mechanic whose family property has been seized through eminent domain so that crooked town boss Vadim (Roman Madyanov) can use it to build a “palace”. Coming from Moscow to help Kolya is lawyer and old army buddy Dmitriy (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), who, in addition to offering counsel, also happens to be screwing his friend’s wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) on the side. Dmitriy’s idea is to blackmail the mayor, but Vadim, prepared to use violence to have his way, proves to be more than a worthy adversary. Meanwhile, Kolya’s son Romka (Sergey Pokhodaev) bears a bitter grudge against stepmother Lilya, so that the household seems doomed to unhappiness even if the family home is saved. Leviathan is a somewhat exotic treat in its portrait of rural Russian life – an experience seldom offered to American filmgoers – but audiences accustomed to the breakneck pacing and flash of Hollywood might be frustrated by this import’s deliberate lurch and its unresolved ambiguity.

4.5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Leviathan is:

5. Anti-police. Officers are assumed to be on the take.

4. Drug-ambivalent. Characters casually smoke and drink. Fellows come together in commiseration, celebration, or any occasion over vodka. It leads to poorly considered behavior, however, and Kolya warns his son against drinking beer with friends.

3. Anti-marriage. Matrimony, it would seem, makes Russian women miserable. Lilya is driven into another man’s arms, while her friend Anzhela (Anna Ukolova) fantasizes about leaving her husband and running away to America. Marriage, furthermore, shortens a woman’s lifespan. Stepanych (Sergey Bachurskiy), for instance, is said to have outlived two wives.

2. Anti-Christian. “I am a Christian, that’s my culture and my belief,” Zvyagintsev has said. His film, however, gives little evidence of this in its parallel characterization of a corrupt politician and an Orthodox priest. Religious platitudes are juxtaposed with slop being fed to swine.

1. Anti-Putin. Zvyagintsev has acknowledged that Leviathan was inspired by the story of a Colorado man, Marvin John Heemeyer. Not being informed of this fact, however, western media-brainwashed art house audiences are left to assume that Leviathan’s tale of a sleazy Christian bureaucrat’s oppression of an everyman is representative of Vladimir Putin’s theocratic heterofascist neo-Soviet Russia. A portrait of Putin hangs on the wall behind Vadim’s desk just to make the insinuation of microcosm explicit. In another scene, buddies peruse a collection of framed pictures of Soviet leaders they intend to use for target practice, with one of them suggesting that he would like to have a shot at the current crop of elected officials. The implication is an unflattering continuity between the dehumanization of the U.S.S.R. and Putin’s Russia.

With Zvyagintsev having made a name for himself with 2011’s Elena as a rising figure in international cinema, Russia’s Ministry of Culture put up more than a third of the money to make Leviathan; but Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky was understandably scandalized by the finished product, incensed that Zvyagintsev would dare to “spit on” the Putin government with his “anti-Russian” film, which also had to be censored in its home country due to the profane screenplay. “An Incisive Take on Russia Even Putin Couldn’t Ignore,” proclaims a useful idiot writing for The Atlantic, further describing the film as “a rare example of a director’s prestige prevailing over a fiercely controlling propaganda machine.”

One hardly needs wonder why Leviathan was picked up for theatrical and home video distribution in the United States and so enthusiastically touted by Sony Pictures Classics (and, in Spain, by the aptly monikered Golem Distribucion). Sony Pictures Entertainment is headed by Michael Lynton, who, in addition to being a Jew, is a member of the Zio-globalist-warpigging Council on Foreign Relations. Sony Pictures Classics DVDs and Blu-ray discs have frequently paired the trailers for Leviathan and Red Army, another Sony product serving Zionist aims with regard to Russia, before the feature presentations.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Twilight of the Cockroaches VHS cover

This writer’s father took him to see the Japanese import Twilight of the Cockroaches (1987) during its 1989 American theatrical run – at the now-defunct Fine Arts Theatre in Mission, Kansas, if memory serves. Directed by Hiroaki Yoshida, whose only other credit at the helm of a film is the Jeff Fahey thriller Iron Maze (1991), Twilight of the Cockroaches is but one of unnumbered oddities spawned by the Japanese cinema during the 1980s; and one suspects that the principal reason it got picked up for stateside distribution was its combination of live action and animation, a pairing that had demonstrated its power to charm audiences with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988).

The plot concerns a colony of pampered cockroaches who are permitted to live and thrive in the apartment of the dissipated and enigmatic Mr. Saito (Kaoru Kobayashi), who seems to spend most of his time in a stupor. The roaches’ peaceful existence is upset, however, when Saito gets a girlfriend (Setsuko Karasuma) who understandably insists on ridding his place of its swarms of invertebrate squatters. Not too many movies muster the gumption to cast six-legged vermin as sympathetic protagonists in such a situation, but Twilight of the Cockroaches does exactly that and succeeds largely by anthropomorphizing the animated pests, complete with human faces, facial hair on the men, and even cleavage on the females of the species.

What makes the film doubly strange and noteworthy is that the roaches apparently represent Jews, much of the story suggesting a “Holocaust” allegory. The English-language script, credited to a Steve Kramer, even uses the term “genocide” to describe humanity’s treatment of its innocent, toilet-tripping neighbors of order Blattodea. “With its subtle allusions to Hiroshima and Dachau,” the VHS box quotes The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Carrie Rickey, “this comedy has unexpected resonance. You will think twice before getting out that can of Blockade.” (Ms. Rickey is presumably unaware that even mainstream “historians” of the “Holocaust” no longer support the Nuremberg Tribunal lies about the Dachau facilities housing homicidal gas chambers disguised as showers.)

The cockroaches comprise a “tribe” suffered in the home of “host” Mr. Saito, who is described as being diverted or entertained by them, much as Jews in America distract the host with Hollywood. Then, too, they see themselves as having a special racial destiny, and they also worship a toy rabbit they know as “Torah”. Nothing in the English-dubbed soundtrack suggests Jewish vocal mannerisms, but some of the older and more important roaches do exhibit large and somewhat hook-shaped noses. The penchant of many of the roaches for spending their nights frolicking in the toilet could also suggest the subversive traits of Jews who specialize in pornography and the propagation of other degeneracies.

Seeing this movie as a child, this writer was wowed by the sheer weirdness of it, Europeans having been conditioned for decades to adore the foreign and the bizarre as a virtue. Revisited now, it is hardly a classic. Twilight of the Cockroaches does, however, furnish a useful illustration of how and why such infestation occurs. The “host”, Mr. Saito, the film eventually reveals, has been abandoned by his family, and only after the dissolution of this essential unit has he fallen into complacency and toleration of vermin and allowed them scavenge on his goods, the spoils of his own productivity. The destruction of the family is the crucial and most fundamental component of Jewish subversion of a nation; without that the Jewish cockroach is in peril, and it is only after another woman enters Mr. Saito’s life and inspires within him a yearning for new happiness in domesticity that he awakens to the filth and asserts his masculine sovereignty over his realm.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Twilight of the Cockroaches VHS back

Strong Medicine (1981) ***1/2

Produced with a grant from the fiendish National Endowment for the Arts, the self-consciously artsy Strong Medicine is the brainchild of avant-garde playwright Richard Foreman, founder of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, which has “the aim of stripping the theater bare of everything but the singular and essential impulse to stage the static tension of interpersonal relations in space” and “seeks to produce works which balance a primitive and minimal style with extremely complex and theatrical themes.”

Strong Medicine follows a woman named Rhoda (Kate Manheim) through a real or imagined absurdist hell of uncomfortable interactions with a host of strangers ostensibly celebrating her birthday. Among those she meets are a dirty-minded doctor (David Warrilow) and a horny lesbian on a train. An air of Kafkaesque futility and ennui pervades Foreman’s film, which may interest those who go for the outre, and who like or can stomach the likes of Beckett and Bunuel or enjoy the stagebound austerity of a film of the type of Marat/Sade (1967). Mildly amusing at best, the experience of taking Strong Medicine is very much like that of watching an opaque European art film in English – although, betraying its foreign affinities, the pretentious end card actually reads “FIN”.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

 

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Writhing Tongue

Writhing Tongue (1980) ***

Not the exercise in horror or sexual perversion that its arresting title might suggest, Writhing Tongue is actually just an offbeat medical melodrama. Masako (Mayuko Wakamori), a pretty little Japanese girl, pricks her finger while playing one day and soon develops an awkward walk and refuses to eat or open her mouth. Doctors diagnose the girl with tetanus, and her extended hospitalization places a strain on her parents’ marriage and even their sanity, their anxiety intensifying when first the father (Tsunehiko Watase) and then the mother (Yukiyo Toake) begin to suspect that they, too, might have contracted the illness.

Writhing Tongue will be a challenge to viewers accustomed to breakneck pacing, with most of the film consisting of scenes of the harried and increasingly haggard parents watching their daughter suffer in her hospital bed. Here and there an odd touch enlivens the proceedings, such as when the despairing father apostrophizes the ancient bacteria occupying his child’s body; but Writhing Tongue, for the most part, is a slow, lugubrious affair, and likely to be disturbing to any parents of small children. This critic’s chief complaint: at no point in the film is there anything even remotely resembling the “writhing tongue” promised in the title!

3 out of 5 stars.

 

Farewell to the Ark

Farewell to the Ark (1984) ****

Very loosely inspired by the magical realist vision of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, this oddball allegorical film is a difficult one to synopsize. Set in a rustic Japanese village where “time doesn’t flow”, Farewell to the Ark follows incestuous cousins Su-e (Mayumi Ogawa), condemned to an indestructible chastity belt by her father, and Sutekichi (Tsutomu Yamazaki), a 35-year-old virgin who longs desperately to penetrate her. Sutekichi’s maddening sexual frustration finally boils over when he hears himself publicly mocked by the randy Daisaki (Yoshio Harada), causing Sutekichi to murder him. After that, he and Su-e flee the village and live as husband and wife in an idyllic forest.

Separated from their community, however, Sutekichi, like some character out of a Paul Bowles story, begins to lose touch with the world around him and feels compelled to create little signs, labeling everything “shoes”, “my house” and so forth; he even hangs a sign on himself that says “Me”. A lot of other bizarre things happen in Farewell to the Ark, as well. A little boy falls into a pit, only to emerge a moment later as a fully formed adult; two youths pursue a woodland nymph whose admirers, if they see her naked, are doomed to die a horrible death; and masked dancers put on a torchlit rite that has to be seen to be believed. Seldom dull, Farewell to the Ark does, however, run somewhat overlong at 127 minutes. Still, it has much to recommend it to seekers after the strange, the obscure, and the thought-provoking.

4 out of 5 stars.

Writhing Tongue trailer

 

Redlands Poster

Vienna (Nicole Fox) is a Midwestern transplant to Southern California who dreams of immortalizing herself through art as a model. Allan (Clifford Morts) is the “fat pervert” and amateur Irving Klaw who entertains her vanity. The pair’s initial collaboration sets Redlands into deliberate motion.

An uneasy study of the creative process and of the artist-model relationship as an “energy transfer”, or a form of vampirism, John Brian King’s debut directorial effort is shot almost entirely in static master shots, a choice that screams “art house” (and low budget) and will automatically alienate the easily distracted. Potential viewers are warned that this is not a film for the faint of heart and that it contains one appalling scene of physical violence in addition to multiple instances of emotional cruelty.

Redlands, owing to a shared subject matter and sensibility, would make for a complementary double feature with Gut (2012) or 24 Exposures (2013) – not that most people would want to sit through two such films in a single sitting. Those sufficiently bold to be interested, however, can screen this gross and engrossing movie via Vimeo.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Redlands is:

9. Anti-miscegenation. A freakish, infatuated Asian sidler (Connie Shin) haunts a camera shop to be near its clerk (Leland Montgomery), but he wants nothing to do with her.

8. Anti-Christian. Vienna sports a kitschy “Have Faith” t-shirt as she rambles inanely about Falco.

7. Anti-vegan. Vegans are depicted as somewhat shallow. Hitler is more than once referenced as having been a vegetarian, presumably so as to discredit the lifestyle.

6. Populist, Luddite, anti-corporate, and protectionist. Allan becomes frustrated with a credit card company’s user-unfriendly robot phone system and finally snaps when he gets through to a human customer service representative, who turns out to be an African named Chiwamba. He calls her a “black bitch” after she informs him that her predatory bankster organization has lowered his credit limit without informing him and is charging him penalty fees for exceeding his newly decapitated limit. Allan’s anger is that of the disenfranchised white male and the American who has seen his countrymen’s jobs either shipped overseas or given to cheap wetbacks and other undesirables. In a fit of impotence, he smashes his phone.

5. Un-p.c. Characters use words like “bitch” and “retard”.

4. Anti-drug. Vienna’s father was an addict.

3. Anti-Semitic! Zack (Sam Brittan) is a parasitic Jew and quasi-pimp, an abusive easy rider who leeches off of his gentile girlfriend’s earnings. “Somebody’s gotta mind the store,” he says. “Might as well be me.”

2. Anti-porn. Parallel scenes of photography sessions evoke a powerful metaphor: pornography as a body of autopsy photos of western woman.

1. Anti-feminist/anti-slut. The misogynistic behavior of the men in Redlands is unpleasant to witness and not at all condoned in the tone of the film. What is impossible to deny, however, is that the unenviable treatment of the women in Redlands results from feminism and its destabilizing effect on the family and the moral fabric of society. The importance of the father as the central figure in a woman’s life comes across very clearly.

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