Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sick shit and boring shit...

And believe be when I say sick in one of the most flattering of ways! (The boring shit is discussed later, because, believe me, this stuff was anything but boring.) Last night, I attended a five person screening of the Vienna Aktion films of Otto Muehl. The films SODOMA, LIBI 68, AMORE 68, OH SENSIBILITY, SCHEISS-KERL (though I'm not certain that they were shown in this particular order) were very necessary viewing for me at this moment in time. Having been removed from the more (or perhaps, extreme) experimental film world - in terms of viewings that will never make it to a Hollywood video near you - I have forgotten the important sides of viewing that really makes it worth while as a viewer. Muehl's works are probably some of the more difficult ones ever committed to film, yet, in the true sense of experimentation that has been all but forgotten, they more often than not bear the joie de vivre of high camp. And this is the pre-Waters definition of camp. Camp is dark. Camp is nasty. Camp is both utopian and extremely suspect of utopia. Camp, to quote the late great Susan Sontag,

sees everything in quotation marks. It's not a lamp, but a "lamp"; not a woman, but a "woman." To perceive Camp in objects and persons is to understand Being-as-Playing-a-Role. It is the farthest extension, in sensibility, of the metaphor of life as theater.

Everpresent here is, not just the playful attempt at subversion of societal codes, but also the lasting social effect of World War II. In one sequence, a man covered in newspaper is being whipped repeatedly by a nude woman in a commando helmet with star sunglasses on and two other scantily clad men. An observer looks on through a glass double door wearing a trenchcoat. Both the woman and the this coated voyeur are painfully referent to the ideas of, not only surveillance, but the inability to completely subvert the reticent ideology of a people.

In SCHEISS-KERL, by far the most...um...beautiful of the five, documents the meringue pie meal of a ?prostitute? In a dingy basement and her later aenema which flows (FANTASTICALLY!!!) like a volcano from her asshole, leaving a trail of shit down the middle of Muehl, who lies beneath her. An extremely obvious drag queen in a red vinyl skirt watches at a distance. The shit is smeared all over Muehl's front and a healthy portion is gathered and placed in his mouth. At this point, a greater context for the entire film is created as Muehl wretches. This performance (and of course, one must consider the prior performances to this as well) is something birthed in the bind. Yet we have documented here the disconnect of mind and body. Muehl the performance artist necessitated the consumption of the woman's feces, but when the act came down to doing, his body rebelled. And it is perhaps body rebellion that runs through the thread of the films. It seems that they all finalize in a great anticlimax. And that anticlimax, as one of my fellow viewers last night mused, was the impossibility of the flesh. The (human) flesh is never broken in these works, and there is a sadness to its confines that works against the grain of the joking language of the films.

And now some thoughts on the results of last night's Golden Globes Awards ceremony:

Well... glad that's out of the way...

The Theatrical Pick of the Week is The New World.

The New DVD pick of the week is Puppet Master Vs. The Demonic Toys Starring Corey Feldman and directed by Ted Nicolau of Subspecies Fame! (What, do you actually think that I would recommend Lord of War? It's slim pickins this week, folks! Anyway, Puppetmaster has the potential to be horrifically wonderful).

And the Already out on DVD pick of the week is Fran├žois Ozon's Water Drops on Burning Rocks even though I've already said a lot about Ozon lately. Hey, this is a personal website. I do what I want. At least it's not a Ken Russell film.

Retro pick of the week is Back Street with Susan Hayward. It's not on DVD so you'll have to pick this one up on video, but really it's "all lowercase letters, very classy."

Oh,and if you want to pick of Muehl's work, click this link here. I have ordered from him and he comes recommended.


Blogger J said...

A mention of Ozon is a nice diversion from all the Ken Russell talk.

I jest...

12:13 PM  

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