Archive for December 26th, 2012


© 2012 by James Clark

Just as Holy Motors kicks off with a man waking in the middle of the night, screaming, “No! No! No!” in face of a spectre of historical malignancy, a seemingly smaller-gauge film, also from this year, namely, The Hunger Games, opens with a young girl screaming amidst a nightmare only too real, about being chosen by the government to participate in a gladiatorial exhibition where twenty-four young people must fight each other to the death until only one remains alive but, in view of the powers-that-be, hardly living. (One could regard that latter diversion as pertaining to the New Year’s Bowl Season at hand.) Whereas the former, almost instant Surrealist classic, envisions a life of alienation from mainstream world history, but a life still improvable through monumental effort, the latter, giving us instant nightmares as a fixture within the same entertainment spa containing Harry Potter, deploys a domain precluding effective motion, and follows closely a protagonist who walks the walk and becomes both a public enemy and a beloved rebel.

Treating this latter vision becomes, then, both, an as always stimulating survey of an entry into avant-garde cinematic discovery, and, as never before, somewhat incredulous treading into territory so seemingly unpromising as to be frequently driving one not to believe what he’s seeing. The film industry has for a long time (in a sort of synchronization with television), and as late more pronouncedly, sprayed about franchises marketable as showing bold and consequential sensibilities—James Bond and Lord of the Rings being among the revered profit centres in this light. Though seldom articulated, the fandom of these products banks upon narratives the overtones of which imply some kind of departure from stolid certainties and pieties. It also banks upon those circumventions of Main Street safely delivering, when all is said and done, its pseudo warriors right back where they started, as restive poseurs confirmed in a normality of paralysis. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

Is there anything more frustrating in this God forsaken world than red tape, that seemingly endless commodity that allows bureaucracies, lawyers and even blood relatives of artists to stop movies being seen purely for the sake of money.  In Britain I grew up with bans, some of them self-imposed, as with Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, while other films like Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter will never see the light of day in the UK due to the killing of animals during the film.  But how many times do I look on film buffs’ innocent wish lists for releases on DVD and Blu Ray and I think to myself, “do you not realise this will NEVER happen.  Such a person will not allow it.”

One particularly well known example is The Devils.  As many doubtless know – and if you don’t, why not? – The Devils will never be seen on DVD or Blu Ray in the full director’s cut with the reinserted ‘Rape of Christ’ sequence because the killjoy right-wing idiots at Warner Brothers see it as their God given duty to keep the film in the archives away from impressionable minds.  In the UK the BFI managed to wangle an agreement to get the full theatrical version at least released, but Warners blocked the director’s cut and even the theatrical release could only get a DVD (no Blu Ray).  It’s a criminal shame, and yet The Devils is only the tip of the iceberg.


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