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Manuel de Layet [Film Festival 09.13.12] horror drama crime



NMR!

Our daily lives are monstrosities wearing us down one second at a time, to escape that whirling turmoil we placate layers of lies upon it, small lies, great lies, the biggest lies of them all being cinema. Through it's, hoped, cathartic value we try and neuter our darkest feelings, needs and urges, but the effect never last. Sooner than later the whole cycle begins again, and more lies are needed to keep sane. Or whatever passes for sane nowadays.


Cinema is lies twenty-four times by second, to misquote some over-hyped bum. So why not use the medium to delve and revel in the vilest delirium we could come up with? This is basically what transfixed unto me from Karim Hussain first project. 92 minutes of existential delirium, bringing into cinema wonderful fantasies of blood, sex, and mysticism. To that extend it reminds me of the works of Eiji Otsuka or Horihone Saizou. The piece in itself is subdivided in two main themes, each one introduced by some shorter sequence giving the general semantic start. Namely creation and communion.

After the short introductory sequence, titled most poetically and totally self-explanatory "Ovarian Eyeball", begins the segment "Human Larvae". The story of some alienated siblings in a derelict house. The girl, however beautiful, is nothing more than a plough-field for passing strangers, fucking one after the other on the bare floor of house while her brother watches and masturbates behind the nearest half-closed door. Incest is hoped but never attained so the brother starts thinking about life, love, the universe. Realising how profoundly stupid the whole creation is, he'll devise a plan to mock and defile it in the most grandiloquent manner ever. All that reflection is served to us in a typical stream-of-consciousness monologue interwoven with flashbacks and hopes. We learn how he waited for the right moment to happen: the pregnancy of his sister, how he then took care of her, nurtured her, admired her for what she was, and would be soon, The portent of Creation, and how through her he will basically piss in the eye of the Universe.

The scheme is a grandiose and relentless mockery of birth. I loved it. Really. But I won't kiss and tell...

The second half is more mysticism oriented, introduced by some Hippies frolicking and fucking the bleeding Earth itself in a short segment, ironically titled Rebirth. The main theme there is Communion, or lack of. Antagonising logic and intuition, the mundane and the sacred in a criss-crossed story about daily tedium, porn and Jesus.

Mostly without any dialogue this part is more graphically oriented than the first half of the experience. We get into the everyday of some random specimen, male of the human species as he go through his day, ending behind his tv screen watching the shittiest and grainy porn tape I ever saw. Mindless wanking and insults to the general female dominion brings him to sleep, where black clad emissaries of his right brain hemisphere will try and kill the left side, destroying the logical and restrained part of its psyche and freeing him from his self imposed limitations. That while ripping his penile flesh with fish-hooks and wanking the bloody meat shaft.

Those limitations being mostly of religious nature, we naturally drift into a re-enactment of the Passion, where some dangly looking Christ will be the main attraction.

The first statement made by our thorn-crowned fellow his on the derelict state of the Christian religion, then having passed out from moral exertion he will be transported by a trio a Maenads for some good old fashioned revelry. In which he will be eaten alive (really that "eat my flesh" thingy was a bad idea to begin with), then the leading girl will piss in his gaping wounds before pulling out his guts and fucking them. That's not all gratuitous, it's laden with tongue-in-cheek symbolism and humour. Likewise is a small cameo on the resurgence of pagan culture and religion in the end of the nineties, beautifully rendered by butt-fucking said Jesus with a log.

If you hadn't grasped this by now, it's an extremely rewarding experience about the limits of the audience. A bit in the way Mark of the Devil was in the seventies.

Oh, if you're wondering why I'm talking about a movie made in 2000, it's simple it was shown this year in the "overlooked gems" subsection of L'etrange Festival. Add to that that Karim Hussain was the director of photography on Antiviral I couldn't pass the opportunity

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