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Archive for May 3rd, 2010

    

       Screencap from Tribeca award winner, ‘Dog Pound’ by Kim Chapiron

by Sam Juliano

     Kim Chapiron’s raw and unsparing prison drama Dog Pound, copped one of the Tribeca Film Festival’s major awards earlier this week as the 9th Annual Gotham independent movie celebration wound down to it’s Sunday conclusion.  While this unremittingly bleak and vivid tale of pent up rage and beaurocratic incompetance may not be a reinvention of the genre that recently gave us Jacques Audiard’s Un Prophete and Steve McQueen’s Hunger, it is nonetheless a film that will engender disgust and outrage, as its predessesors did.  Chapiron, a French director who helmed a rather unique and creative American backwoods-styled horror film Sheitan in 2006,  infused his uncompromising drama with a visual astringency, and stark, cinema-verite style realism with brilliant set and sound design that takes you within the drab and claustrophic walls and barbed barriers of the Montana juvenile correctional facility that serves as the film’s sole setting. 

     Making his English-language debut here, the gifted Chapiron has a remarkably keen eye for juvenile life and the ever-lurking dangers that inform every waking minute in an environment wrought with mistrust, betrayal and excessive violence.  In the tradition of  films like I Am A Fugitive From a Chain, Gang One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shawshank Redemption,  the director again examines the grave internal issues of the youthful inmates, and the inability and ineptitude of those in charge to address the critical reverberations that follow some shocking miscalculations and errors in judgement that lead to tragedy.  Alan Clarke’s Scum is the single work that Chapiron seems most indepted to here, as both films show the wardens and officers as brutalized by the system, both show case a male rape scene that leads to suicide, and both show no real effort at rehibilitation.  Chapiron suggests later in the film that the ‘dog pound’ ensnares everyone in its grasp, accentuating the rather indiscriminate regard for punishment.  Even the film’s imposing officer, Goodyear (Lawrence Bayne) has deep-rooted insecurities which are manifested in a prickly vaneer and some glaring insecurities.  Beyond him, the administrative officers are close-minded and arrogant, and even a female instructor displays callous indifference to a boy with a big personality. (more…)

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Sam, Director Tom Six, Broadway Bob and 'The Human Centipede' lead star Dieter Laser

                          Screen Cap from horror film ‘The Human Centipede’    

by Sam Juliano 

     Long-running projects at Good Fellas and The Last Lullaby have wrapped, but neither Dave Hicks nor Jeffrey Goodman will be taking long rests, as both have promised new  ventures in the very near future, even while Goodman continues work on his new film Peril with Tom Sizemore.  Meanwhile,  the tireless Dee Dee will be interviewing Film Noir Extraordinaire Tony d’Ambra for what will surely be an enlightening post, and Allan’s exhaustive coverage at Wonders of the 2000’s continues as ballots are coming in fast and furious under the voting thread.  On a human note, Troy and Trisha Olson will be flying over to China in just a few days for a three-week sojourn, that will end with their joyful acquisition of their bundle of joy!  Film scholar James Clark continues on too with his  magnificent series on David Lynch, and a few other brilliant posts.  And wedding bells will soon be heard from Minneapolis, where the popular Dan Getahun will soon be tying the knot.  Best to him and his lovely bride.  Bob Clark has a very interesting link to his game place here: http://playthisthing.com/convey-or-countdown

     In the NYC area, it’s been mainly the Tribeca Film Festival, and Lucille and faithful friend Broadway Bob have accompanied me to three screenings over the festival’s final weekend, that included Ticked Off Trannies With Knives and the winner of the narrative feature award, Dog Pound.  Other than that I attended a screening of The Human Centipede, a perverse horror film by Tom Six, and a superb after film discussion, and chat with the filmmaker and stars, and a catch-up viewing of a film that opened weeks ago to solid reviews, titled City Island on Sunday night. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(Mexico 2001 105m) DVD1/2

Aka. And Your Mother, Too

Life is like the surf

p  Jorge Vergera  d  Alfonso Cuaron  w  Alfonso Cuaron, Carlos Cuaron  ph  Emmanuel Lubezki  ed  Alfonso Cuaron, Alex Rodriguez  art  Miguel Alvarez

Gael Garcia Bernal (Julio Zapata), Diego Luna (Tenoch Iturbide), Maribel Verdu (Luisa Cortés), Diana Bracho (Silvia), Emilio Echeverria (Miguel Iturbide), Ana Lopez Mercado (Ana Morelos), Maria Aura (Cecilia Huerta), Andres Almeida (Saba Madero),

If ever a film showed the chasm between modern day Hollywood and their international counterparts, it’s Y Tu Mamá También.  Hollywood knows well the characters of Julio and Tenoch, they call them Bill and Ted or the American Pie rejects, idiots in search of a lobotomy.  All they think of is sex and we suffer 90 minutes of mind-numbingly tedious nonsense designed to keep Seann William Scott and Jason Biggs in employment.  That the American fare is so utterly unwatchable that you wouldn’t even use DVDs of them as a drinks coaster, and that Y Tu Mamá También is so refreshing, is obvious with anyone with eyes to see.  For starters, there’s wit and subtlety.  Now I know, subtlety may not be the first thing we think of in the opening scene, where Tenoch and Cecilia are making love like Betty Blue and Zorg.  Another one soon follows, this time between Julio and his girlfriend Ana.  No body doubles, the nudity is worn like a badge of honour and with the candour of typically lustful teenagers with over-sexed libidos. 

            What we have here essentially is a road trip with sex as the driving force.  The difference here is that the two boys invite a sophisticated 28 year old Spanish woman on a trip to find the mythical beach of Heaven’s Mouth (Boca del Cielo).  It doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t matter, they don’t expect her to take up the offer anyway.  Imagine their shock then when, after being told by her husband that he’s been cheating on her, the woman, Luisa, comes with them on this trip to literally nowhere.  They both fancy her and want to get her into bed.  She’s just after a break from everything, but realises she’s free to do what she likes.  It’s a trip that will change them all. (more…)

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