Saturday, November 03, 2012

I saw a couple of films when I was back home too. I was fully prepared to hate Berberian Sound Studio (its play for hip left-field kudos as an amalgam of basically every cool theoretical, musical and cinematic trope of the last 5 or 6 years was way too obvious, plus it is essentially David Lynch's Wire-reading younger brother.) Nonetheless, it blew me away, despite all the Ghost Boxy trappings. Haven't seen Kaitlin Varga yet, but a few years ago Monster Bobby was bigging it up (and he no fool), so I am prepared to believe Strickland is a bit of a major talent.
 
 
 
I also finally caught up with another film Monster Bobby recommended way back, A film by Harmoney Korine. Normally I'd run a mile (and Mr Lonely, which I also saw, was excruciatingly twee). Trash Humpers however is as properly disturbing as you could want. A plotless, degraded bit of VHS found footage.
 
 
 
But nastiest and most brilliant of all was Kill List, highly likely to be overlooked as, unlike Strickland's effort, it doesn't make an overt play for the smart-set (as I was heading into the Cinema a hipster chick was squatting down next to the Berberian  poster and  posing while  her boyfriend  took a photo) and is pretty much an offshoot of the British Gangster movie. Certainly clunky in parts, nonetheless, it is a genuinely horrible film, a truly infernal vision of English life.
 
 

4 comments:

David Kasper said...

I've hardly watched any films this year (exactly 3). But Kill List was one of them. Maybe I'm getting too touchy about this stuff - but it's relentless, sadistic unpleasantness was just TOO MUCH. It does seem to reflect some very, very ugly pathologies in Britain (or rather British 'ideology') right now.

But it did have something I half-done a (lost) post on: the ultra-dark 'family annihilator' fantasy, something which seems to have really emerged with the neoliberal era. From obvious example like many news stories and the Shining, but also a recurring motif in stuff like Simpsons Halloween specials. See also this fantasy from the child's angle: "Ooh, my parents have been brutally butchered - time to fulfill my destiny as saviour of humanity!" A plot that forms the basis for a fair few 'family entertainments' since the late 70s.

carl said...

Yaeh, I basically agree, Kill List left a really nasty taste in my mouth...to be honest I have avoided all the torture^porn stuff that seems to have been integral to late phase neoliberalism partly because a) like almost e evryone i get more and more repelled by cinematic violence as i get older b)I'm sure they are basically crap...

However, having written quite a bit of this kind of stuff in fictional form myself i should probably really interrogate my own motives there...I .


what are the ugliest films/bits of music about Britain?

David Kasper said...

Dunno about what's ugliest, but this (militaristic?) obsession with torture, child abuse/murder, urban loathing, and violent family life is everywhere in British film and TV now (and of course Bush-era sadism still lurks in US films). The Daniel Craig Bonds are even more poker-faced 'new lad' fascist than previous ones. The gangster stuff is reflected in the endless autobios you get in 'mass market' bookshops ("my life as a torturer for the firm" etc).

It's like the drama in so much of this stuff is obsessed with rationing the right to live. Not so much overcoming danger as drawing up a 'kill list' from the beginning. Even 'uplifting' Danny Boyle, and his recurring 'pots of gold' that miraculously rescue his protagonists, is about rationing really. It all seems to have got more intense with Cameron, though the themes were there with Blair too (one day I'll explain why 28 days Later was really about the London property market...)

carl said...

I look forward to that!

actually I must watch that last Danny Boyle film...