THE 56TH EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: PLANET WANNA-BE HOLLYWOOD

Irreversible ^ * ^ Directed by Gaspar Noe ^ Starring Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel ^ 2002
Ah, the ever-popular ‘film festival controversial celluloid enfant terrible’. This year’s audience-divider was this pleasant French effort from the director of “Seul Contre Tous”. You may remember that one from a coupla years back; featured a guy punching his pregnant wife in the stomach until she miscarried. And you know what? Director Noe hasn’t loosened or lightened up in the slightest.
Unfortunately.
Okay. Lemme run the ‘plot’ for this one by you. It contains ‘spoilers’ (as those assholes at aintituncoolfilmgeek.com put it) so if you want to see this sicko flickershow stop reading now. Anybody else…continue at yer peril.
Okay: plot. Young, achingly-in-love couple frolic naked in their apartment. Young woman is newly pregnant. Guy jokes about wanting to fuck her up her cute ass. It’s poignant; bring a tear to a glass eye. They go out to a party and fall out, and she storms out in annoyance. On the way home she gets anally raped by a gay pimp. Her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend seek the guy out…and decimate his head with a fire extinguisher in a gay nightclub. The end.
Or should I say the beginning. Y’see, this film has a gimmick: it’s run backwards, so the end comes at the start, and vice versa. Now. This is an incredibly interesting technique, because it gives lines at the end (start) of the film a lot more resonance when you know the events that have preceded (followed) them.
However
This film is nothing more than a fucking “Death Wish” movie run backwards, this ‘ytra’ technique giving it a pseudo-intellectual veneer of (dis)respectability. It is the work of a…ummm…better not say what I think of him or we’ll get sued, but he obviously takes great delight in spraying film viewers with his pathological misogynistic misanthropic powertrip forced-fuck-fantasies.
I think you can see which side of the fence I sit on on this one.
Noe had a short film of his shown at this year’s EIFF, after which he gave a talk. The short in question, “Carne”, was made in 1991. Featuring incest, pregnant woman sodomy and a real horse slaughtered on-camera, Noe sat and said he couldn’t understand why anybody would have a problem with this damaged shit. Yeah, right. Gimme a fucking break. I do not trust this man or his insane, damaged filmic agenda one fucking bit and will never see a film of his again. He utterly disgusts me.
Finger-painting in celluloid sick slick shit has that effect on me. I’m too old for this shit. It’s funny, though. Some ‘serious’ cineastes really took to this one, saying that it had the same structure as “2001″, and blah blah blah. This fucking swill doesn’t even deserve this level of debate. It’s worthless guitar picks of the future, with a poster that exploits the nine-minute(!) anal rape scene. I barely suppressed an urge to spit on the fucking thing.
Fuck these people.
Of course, having said this, no doubt you will want to see it. Your call.
NEXT!
Morvern Callar ^ ** ^ Directed by Lynne Ramsay ^ Starring Kathleen McDermott, Samantha Morton ^ 2002
Now, I hafta admit, I had big hopes for this one. A film based on a cult Scottish work of literature by Alan Warner (only Scottish writer I rate) directed by the Scottish woman who made the amazing “Ratcatcher?” Sounded too good to be true.
Of course, it was.
Now, the book in question is an interesting piece of work. It’s about a 21-year-old young woman from the small Scottish port town of Oban. She comes home one day from her job in a local supermarket to find her writer-boyfriend has killed himself. He has left the manuscript for a novel for
Morvern to send to publishers and get published posthumously for him.
So she cuts his body up, buries it, then gets it published under her own name and fucks off to Spain to rave and revel in drink and drugs and dance and post-traumatic stress disorder dementia. While she is there she learns that the book is to be published, affording her the means to escape her oppressive small-town environment.
Anyway. Like I said, Alan Warner is a literary stylist, writing reams of dense elliptical mercurial beautiful bleak black blood prose poetry. It’s just a pity Lynne Ramsay isn’t up to the task of translating this work to the screen. And in my opinion, she makes one fundamental error I cannot get past: she casts an English actress, Samantha Morton as Morvern, in a quintessentially Scottish role. Newcomer Kathleen McDermott, in her first role as Morvern’s friend Lanna, however, is the true Scottish heart of this film, and acts Morton off the screen. She truly is incredible, and gives a natural, seamless performance of a lifetime. A complete sweetheart in person too.
Well, ya know, I could go on. About how this film polarized audiences, with women seeming to love it and understand it better than men. About how it will die at the box office. About…ah, who cares. See it if you want. You know you will anyway. Final word goes to my old friend Andrew Gardner from Falkirk, a normal (ie not film type) guy who saw it and said this of much of the film: “East German ladies shot-putting would be more interesting.”
So that’s that.
Let’s see what’s happening outside the theater in part five of THE 56TH EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: PLANET WANNA-BE HOLLYWOOD>>>




Posted on September 10, 2002 in Festivals by
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