So you think it’s all song and dance do you? Here is a collection of Bollywood Horror Movie Posters from The Lost Media Archive pt. 1
If you haven’t heard James McAllister and I have re-vamped our old found footage compilation “Gimme Stage” for 2013! We just finished the editing tonight and I think it’s pretty fantastic :)
“Gimme Stage” is our tribute to the human need to perform, no matter how strange or outsider the performance may be.
(Above: Underground Music God - R. Stevie Moore and friend singing in a made up language to Raymond Scott’s “The Playful Drummer” from “Soothing Sounds for Baby”)
Footage has been gathered from the Lost Media Archive gargantuan VHS collection to bring you curious, inventive and smelly gems from:
Documented Performance Art
Public Access Television
Thrift Store Videos
Old VHS Trade Circles
as well as the odd donations and submissions we have received over the years for LMA and the Free Form Film Festival.
If you saw our original “Gimme Stage” compilation back in 2007 or so, know that we have dusted it off and that this version now contains over an hour of new footage!!!
(Above: Footage of our dear close friend “Wild Man Fischer” performing on late night TV (his 2nd to last public performance - R.I.P.)
You shall be amazered!
Time: 10 PM Sharp! (Get there 15 Mins early for the best seats)
Place: Brewvies Cinema and Pub in SLC
Price: FREE!!! - 21 and Over Only
We have several Lost Media film (Frankenstein’s Planet of Monsters) and book (LMA Vinyl) preservation projects in the works so we will have stuff available at our merch table to help fund these archeological endeavors. One of them available only at this event is a highest quality DVD collection of “Stairway to Stardom” Vol.1 - taken from an one of the earliest VHS copies during the video trading days before youtube:
(Above: Our complete Stairway to Stardom Vol. 1 DVD - only available at this event)
Miss out on this one time event and you’ll be hurting for years to come!
DVD/78 Mins/B&W/Esperanto w/ English subtitles/Not Rated
Believe it or not, I spent about 3 hours this morning writing a careful review and description for this film. It was all deleted in an instant by a faulty computer :P
It sufficeth to say, I cast votes last week and the winning film turned out to be “Incubus” - the odd psychological gothic horror made by the original “Outer Limits” film crew.
Although I’ve shown this once during a Halloween grindhouse, it has never been an official ISMN selection.
A true curiosity To me this film comes off as a Roger Corman B Movie disguised as a shiny foreign art film. The cinematography is gorgeous. The atmosphere is moody with a strange feeling of placelessness as if you’re watching a made up culture and people. I still don’t quite know how I feel about this film, but I always loved the rumors of it’s existence. A proclaimed “cursed film” definitely worth checking out.
Description from Amazon:
This black and white horror movie, filmed in California but with dialogue in Esperanto, is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Incubus inverts the usual moral battle of a good person tempted by evil. When a headstrong, blond, young succubus named Kia (Allyson Ames) becomes bored with luring the corrupt and sinful to their ultimate demise, she decides she’s going to tackle a truly good man (in the form of a very young William Shatner, of all people). An older, wiser succubus warns Kia that the good have an uncanny power called love, but Kia recklessly dives in, confident in her seductive powers—until she finds herself spiritually defiled by goodness and must summon an incubus (Milos Milos) to enact revenge. The pacing is slow but eerily effective, as are the stark cinematography and low-budget effects. Shatner’s intonations are just as distinctive in Esperanto as in English, but that only adds to the movie’s overall stylization. Incubusshares a kinship with Carnival of Souls, another low-budget black and white horror film that has more going on than buckets of gore. Though Incubus would seem to be heavily influenced by Ingmar Bergman, director Leslie Stevens has said he was more affected by Japanese samurai films. A strikingly unique and beautifully creepy film. —Bret Fetzer
An obscure oddity well worth seeking out, 25 February 2004
Author: capkronos (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Ohio, USA
Made by some of the same folks who worked on the great Outer Limits television series, this little-known gem (shot entirely in Esperanto, a language conceived to become a universal dialect in the late 19th Century) is definitely one-of-a-kind and worth checking out. William Shatner stars as war vet and all-around good and decent guy who lives with his sister (some Freudian implications are present) in a nameless and nearly-vacant coastal village. He is briefly led astray by a seductive, blonde devil-worshipper (Allyson Ames) under false pretenses…he thinks it’s for the mutual attraction and she is basically plotting to kill him and deliver another soul over to Satan.
The remastering job is a crystal clear b/w print, gorgeously shot by Conrad L. Hall (AMERICAN BEAUTY) around picturesque Big Sur locations. Director Leslie Stevens achieves some amazing shots, throws in some great camera-work and the films has faint echoes of CARNIVAL OF SOULS and many Mario Bava films. The plotting (Shatner falling in love in the course of an afternoon and some heavy-handed religious themes) is often at odds with the is lyrical and poetic tone of the film, but it has many standout sequences (including a winged demon seen only in shadow, a solar eclipse, the human “incubus” rising from the grave, an opening murder of the succubus drowning a drunken man in the ocean…) to recommend it.
A must-see for psychotronic film buffs, 12 June 1999
Author: Pa2rick from Fosston, MN
This gloriously weird film, long thought lost, recently resurfaced when a single print (in excellent condition) was discovered in the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris. It has proved well worth the wait. Want to see a pre-Trek William Shatner woo a sexy demoness entirely in Esperanto? Well here’s your chance (just don’t use this film as a guide to the language — the actors’ Esperanto pronunciation is pretty awful). The cinematography (by Academy Award winner Conrad Hall) is top-notch and makes this film a must-see for any film buff, psychotronic or otherwise.
Bonus short film:
Haxan - Chapter II (1922)
Time: Wednesday April 24th @ 7:45 PM
Place: Art City Mansion, Springville
Lots of parking. Friends and new people always welcome.
See you there!
This week: Seriously one of the most drug tripped psyche films you will ever see. This is the ultimate band movie the Beatles wished they could’ve made (or at least I wish they could’ve made).
The first time I personally came across this film was in 9th grade or so and had taped it off of late night TV after midnight without watching it except for a few shots of the intro. This may sound strange but because a girl up the street was obsessed that I had this film and was huge fan, it made me never want to see it and want to lose the tape. Plus I wasn’t a fan of The Monkees. All I really knew was their TV show re-runs and that annoying theme song!
It’s funny, I know other people who also wont touch this feature film because, …well, it’s The Monkees. lol
(Don’t worry this is a positive review.) A couple months ago, I finally swallowed my pride and broke down and watched the Archive’s VHS after the rave reviews from some friends and roommates. And well, I was also a fan of the “Porpoise Song” from this film as covered by Lollypop Train on one of my Siesta records …
Once again my pre-conceptions of a film were completely wrong. I was completely mesmerized, captivated, bewildered, and felt very inspired while watching this film!
The fact that this movie stars the Monkees is completely secondary. I have to say this is the most whitty, and entertaining fluff band film I have ever seen!
This movie is a complete absurdist jigsaw puzzle, and attempts to combine every film genre into one piece of non-sensical madness.
As messy as that sounds, this film completely works! In it’s non-linear non-conformity, the “no-plot” is very complex and somehow makes complete sense!
And the fact is, no photos can do justice or really explain the experience of watching this film.
One you’ve seen this movie, the expression “Head Film” will make more sense. A term I myself have used to describe a drug trip on film. It’s how people described Walt Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” upon release. …This is where it comes from.
I myself have never taken drugs, except for the time my mom mixed my vitamins with her medication, …but that was not hallucinatory nor intentional. I have no desire to do so, especially if my hallucinations would be similar to the living nightmares I experienced during times of high fever as a child.
Who needs drugs and the side effects when you have movies like this? To me this movie is best example of an enjoyable “trip”, a complete product of it’s era, and even when it does get nightmarish you’re just glad that you’re not actually there.
What else can you say about a film without a plot? In closing, I wished that I had actually watched it in high school, I would’ve loved it!!! Who knows what sort of artistic creations this film would’ve inspired during my youth. If you’re like me, while watching this film, you will wish that you had written it!
Some fave reviews:
Historically important, 23 March 2003
Author: Bruce Corneil from Melbourne, Australia
You would really need to remember the Monkees and have a clear understanding as to where and how they fitted into the second half of the 1960s in order to fully appreciate this movie.
There is no plot as such. Basically, it’s a crazy, mixed up pastiche of various, unrelated sequences. But, it IS interesting AND entertaining in its own peculiar way once you get onto its wavelength. In short, it was a classic, cleverly conceived and well crafted example of late ’60s experimental cinema. It contains some good songs, some ultra-groovy cinematography and plenty of other worthwhile ideas in terms of film technique.
I give it 7 out of 10 for several reasons. First, it took a lot of courage to make such an unorthodox movie in the commercial mainstream where both its stars and its producers were firmly ensconced at the time (whether they liked it or not). It seems that almost everyone who was associated with the project (with the exception of Columbia who paid for it) knew that it was probably not going to be a big money maker. Their reasons for wanting to do it were as unorthodox as the film itself. Secondly, it was, for the most part, a creative success. And, finally, as already mentioned, it is, unquestionably, a classic of the genre and, as such, it is now historically important.
Unfortunately, “Head” came too late in the Monkees career. But, there again, they wouldn’t have been allowed to make it earlier on because it was essentially a very pointed and cynical satire of their own image.
Clearly, the members of the group knew, only too well, that the whole Monkeemania thing had pretty well run its course when they started work on this movie. In a way, it was to be their swan song and they were determined to let it all hang out. They were tired of being treated like mere pawns in the high powered corporate game in which they had been manipulated and exploited over the preceding few years. In short, they “wanted out” and they were going to say a few things before they left.
History, however, has vindicated the band. Let the critics be damned. The Monkees, left behind some of the best, most polished and successful pop records of the decade. Yes, they had plenty of help. But at the end of the day, THEY stood in front of the studio mikes, THEY fronted the movie and TV cameras and THEY did the concerts. They were fun and just a little bit crazy. But, unlike some of their contemporaries, they were never threatening. You could safely introduce a Monkey to your elderly aunt.
Perfect 60’s oddity, 30 May 2003
Author: Jason Williams from Los Angeles, CA
“Head” is one of those films you’ll have a lot of trouble convincing your friends to see, but once they do they’ll fall in love with it. I don’t know how many times this has happened to me. This film is just so funny and bizarre, really a deconstruction of everything the Monkees had been up to this point in their career. A lot the credit goes to Bob Rafelson who pretty much ended the Monkee’s career with this film. My guess is he wanted to get out of directing the TV show and get into features, which he did in a big way after this one. Micky Dolenz is absolutely hilarious. I can’t believe he didn’t have a second life as a comic actor after this film. This film has a lot of great cameos and a lot of wonderful psychedelic nonsense. I feel like the reputation of this film is continuing to build and it wouldn’t surprise me if it eventually becomes a full on cult classic
(This one seems to confirm some of my statements made above!)
Everything that The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine should have been, 25 June 2005 (Revised)
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City
This is one of those films where it is easy to see how some people wouldn’t like it. My wife has never seen it, and when I just rewatched it last night, I waited until after she went to bed. She might have been amused by a couple small snippets, but I know she would have had enough within ten minutes.
Head has nothing like a conventional story. The film is firmly mired in the psychedelic era. It could be seen as filmic surrealism in a nutshell, or as something of a postmodern acid trip through film genres. If you’re not a big fan of those things—psychedelia, surrealism, postmodernism and the “acid trip aesthetic” (assuming there’s a difference between them), you should probably stay away from this film. On the other hand if you are a fan of that stuff, you need to run out and buy Head now if you haven’t already.
Oddly, the film has never received much respect. That probably has a lot to do with preconceptions. After all, it does star The Monkees—Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork—and The Monkees were a musical group of actors put together by producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider to be a kid-friendly, bubble-gummy Beatles for a television series. In their era, they had as much respect as, say, Menudo, New Kids on the Block, The Spice Girls, and so on. As a fellow IMDb reviewer rightly notes—“Perhaps people in 1968, thinking of the Monkees as a silly factory-made pop band rip-off of the Beatles, refused to see (Head)”.
The Monkees and Head have never been quite able to shed that negative public perception. It’s a shame, because there was a lot of talent, both musically and otherwise, in The Monkees. It’s probably odder that Rafelson, who directs here and co-produces with Schneider, and Jack Nicholson (yes, _that_ Jack Nicholson), who wrote the script and also co-produces, decided to take The Monkees in this unusual direction. It’s as if New Kids on the Block suddenly put out an album equivalent to Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma (1969) or Atom Heart Mother (1970). In fact, the songs in Head, written by The Monkees and frequent collaborators such as Carole King and Harry Nilsson, have a Floyd-like quality, somewhere between the Syd Barrett era and the immediate post-Barrett era. This is much more prominent than any Beatles similarity. Some people have complained about the music in the film, but to me, all the songs are gems. For that matter, some people dislike Barrett era (or other) Floyd, which is just as difficult for me to empathize with.
But what _is_ Head about? The basic gist is just that The Monkees are taking a trip through various film genres—there are war scenes, adventure scenes, horror scenes, comedy scenes, drama scenes, western scenes, sci-fi scenes, romance scenes, and on and on. Except, in the film’s reality, this turns out to be happening primarily (if not exclusively) on a studio lot. At root, we’re watching The Monkees shoot a film. Of course all of the scenes in the various genres have something surreal and self-referential about them, and they, and individual shots within a scene, tend to lead to one another using dream logic not dissimilar to the Monty Python television show. As a dream, Head tends to vacillate between a good dream and a nightmare, while often being one that would cause you to laugh in your sleep (something that I frequently do, by the way).
Technically, Rafelson uses a wide variety of techniques to realize the above. There are scenes with extensive negative images, there are a lot of very fast cuts (including a great sequence that features Davy Jones and Tony Basil dancing alternately in a white and a black room, wearing a combination of white and black reversed in each, that occasionally toggles back and forth as quickly as two frames at a time), there are a lot of bizarre segues, there is an animated cow mouth, there are odd editing devices, and so on. For my money, I wish this stuff wasn’t just a relic of the psychedelic era. This is the kind of artistic approach I relish. It seemed like a good idea back then and I still think it’s a good idea. I’d like to see films like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou using (2004) using these types of extended techniques. Now that would make that film surreal.
Interpretationally, some folks who aren’t so in tune with the acid trip aesthetic have complained that it’s basically b.s. to offer meanings for something intended to not have any. I disagree with such a pessimistic/nihilistic view; Head was intended to have a lot of meaning(s), and it’s not just films without conventional plots that have multiple interpretations. Nicholson, Rafelson and Schneider have a lot of interesting things to say about The Monkees—the film postmodernistically comments on their manufactured status; pop stardom—way before Pink Floyd, Head conflates pop stardom and violence, from images of war to images of fans cannibalistically dismantling their idols; and naïve U.S.-oriented ideas of international perceptions and respect—well-armed foreigners in a desert surrender to Micky Dolenz just because he’s an American, then later they blow up a Coke machine (again in the desert) for him because he’s thirsty and can’t gain access. The film comments on many other topics—from big Industry to police, surveys, spectatorship (especially in relation to tragedies), and on and on. Head is full of ideas, appropriately enough, with intelligent, multifaceted things to say about them.
Head deserves to be considered a classic—it’s basically shooting for the same vibe as The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. Both premiered in November of 1968, interestingly enough, and both were intended as something of a summation of the psychedelic aesthetic. Yellow Submarine wasn’t quite successful. Head is everything Yellow Submarine should have been.
Bonus Short Film: “Haxan: Chapter 1” (1922)
DVD/Tinted B&W/Silent/Documentary-Horror/ Not Rated
I debated on whether to show “Head” or “Haxan” for letter “H”. I decided on “Head” for the main feature because it’s just too good to wait another year or so to share it, and that film deserves attention NOW!
I had a harder time imagining friends sitting through and entire viewing of “Haxan.“ However, Haxan is significant and very worth while. I’ve decided to share “Haxan” as a series of chapters each week since the film is divided into various vignettes of various points of view on it’s subject matter.
The FUNNY thing is, this is a perfect paring of films since Haxan was once re-edited, retitled, given electric jazz-fusion score by Jean Luc Ponty, narration by William Burroughs and re-released in 1968 - the exact same year as HEAD! and auctioned off to audiences as another drug trip film for the era.
Check out this review snippet below. Ready to see the term “Head” in a film description?:
Atmospheric, nightmarish, and even a bit silly, 4 February 2003
Author: David Ross Smith (email@example.com) from Washington, DC
Directed by Scandinavian filmmaker Benjamin Christensen, ‘Haxan’ / ‘Witchcraft Through the Ages’ (1922) is a head-trippy silent film depicting black magic, witchcraft, and demonology from the middle ages to the 20th century. Shot and presented in documentary form, the film is more akin to a pseudo-scholarly lecture with moving visual aids. Not as intense or as shocking today as upon its initial release, the film is filled with nightmarish images that are certainly profane and explicit, but also humorous and downright silly.
We will be showing HAXAN in it’s original form, for a total of 7 chapters each week. Perhaps we will show the 1968 version in another alphabet later for “W”.
I still can’t get over how the placement of these two films together seems to be destiny!
Time: Thursday April 18th @ 7:30 PM
Place: Art City Mansion in Springville, next to the train tracks on 300 S off of Main.
BE THERE OR BE HEXAGON.
We often run out of pop corn so feel free to bring extra! Lots of parking. New friends and visitors welcome :)
See you there! Much love,
Sigmund gives these films two thumbs up!
A collection of Grey Gardens fan art found on the internet.
DVD/100 Mins/Documentary/Rated PG
I’m in love with this film. Possibly one of the most famous examples of “direct cinema”: where the camera is supposed to act like a fly on the wall and just observe. As famous as this film is, it’s definitely unusual enough to make our ISMN line-up.
If you haven’t heard of this film, it is a documentary about two of Jackie Kennedy’s relatives who were once rich high society socialites of Long Island, but found in the mid 1970’s living in squalor and near completely disconnected from the rest of the world around them.
Now living with a multitude of cats, and sometimes racoons and rats, this Mother and Daughter still act and seems as if the 1950’s, 60’s and even 70’s never happened - because they were never part of it!
In spite of their sad situation which conjures questions of mental dis-function and the loss and neglect of life opportunities, these women seem to be happy and at peace with their situation and you cannot help but be strangely charmed by their relationship and distinct personalities.
(Above: Edie Beal in the room of discarded empty cat food cans.)
The most eccentric of the two being “Little Edie Beal” who chose to stay at home with mother instead of having a life and family of her own. Little Edie inventively conjurers up her own outfits out of clothing she has probably owned since the 40’s. These outfits always centered around her head dress which often consist of wearing the neck of a sweater around her face to cover her condition of hair loss.
Both women are a fascinating character study, and you cannot help but but be fascinated by their companionship, even when they are getting on each other’s nerves. There are honestly and truly the items of a time warp, and you really do feel like you are watching people at home from the 1940’s who have traveled through time. Absolutely incredible.
My favorite scene by far, is seeing Little Edie being excited about finding a vinyl record of marching music and then performing a patriotic dance with the American Flag for the camera :) …that and footage of one the cats going to the bathroom behind Big Edie’s glamorous young portrait that’s leaning against a wall.
This movie is without beginning or end and is just a snapshot into the unique lives of two very eccentric and secluded people.
(Above: Outsider fan art?)
Some favorite online reviews:
Grey Gardens was riveting and almost unbelievable!, 8 September 1999
Author: sigis from Oklahoma City
We stumbled upon the documentary, Grey Gardens, last Sunday and got “sucked in” without warning. Everyone who entered the room became transfixed on the television and the haunting images of Edith and Edie who seemed to be living out their lives in practically one room of a large filthy mansion on the beach, eating ice cream and corn on the cob (which was cooked on the bedside table)—and the cat urinating on edith’s bed and her unbelievable words, “i thrive on it [the smell].” We had not seen the beginning and wondered what we were watching and how these aristocratic women managed to get in the position they were in. Spellbinding! a must see!!!!
Very Sad, Very Human, Oft Funny…but with a whiff of exploitation, 15 September 2003
Author: David (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Chapel Hill, NC, USA
I was speechless and devastated after my first viewing of this - many parts of GREY GARDENS are very funny and unbelievably surreal - documentary or not, this really gives Fellini or David Lynch a run for their money in the weirdsville sweepstakes. I kept focusing on how these women (who are clinically way beyond eccentric) reveal their own humanity in the most surprising of ways, and I wonder whether their retreat from the world was prompted by something beyond the stuffiness of life in the unreal blue-blood universe, perhaps some abuse, or perhaps simply a streak of defiance and rebellion that spiralled out of their control and took on a life of its’ own. This might be one of the greatest ever films that comes dangerously close to exploitation, without going completely over the edge - as the Edies do their thing, I kept noting things like the empty gin bottles in the rubble-strewn bedroom, cats urinating on the bed, racoons emerging from holes in the walls, and the final scene seemed incredibly sad - like a child’s birthday party gone seriously wrong. Very definitely worth seeing and seeking out - you’ll never forget it, but very disturbing.
The most beautiful, endearing eccentrics of all!, 20 April 2001 (Condensed)
Author: azeffer from Brooklyn
The first time I viewed Grey Gardens, I was as mesmerized as the other people who have written comments. So many elements of this film are fascinating, there are so many things going on there. The ultimate passive-aggresive relationship of the mother and daughter. So co-dependent. One moment Edie is blaming Edith for her loneliness, the next she is about to swim in the ocean and saying out loud how she hopes her mother does not pass on anytime soon, she would miss her. Yet one has to wonder if Edie really wanted to leave so badly, why didn’t she? Maybe Grey Gardens was where she most wanted to be after all.
Edie never leaves the home or rarely sees anyone, yet she still has the rich, white woman’s concern over her weight. It is hilarious to see her peering at the scale through binoculars. When you see pictures of the women as young beauties, it takes your breath away. Edie is still a beautiful woman, and her coquettish behavior at times makes her seem like a young lady.
The language is entirely witty and it is hilarious to see the two women go on and on.
The cats and racoons are a site to see, as is the faded mansion. A wonderful window into the world of two compelling characters, their lives, and their memories. Yes it is at times sad, but at the same time, these two are fabulous!
In 2006, Grey Gardens was adapted into a stage musical and in 2009 was remade as an HBO movie starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, which probably should’ve been shown on the big screen according to the rave reviews I’ve seen. I would be interested to see how their pasts have been depicted.
We’ve had a strange VHS dub of this film in the archive for the past decade or so. Last year I finally broke down and bought the Criterion release knowing that it was bound for ISMN in the new line-up.
I can’t wait to visit this film again :)
Bonus short film:
The Garden of Earthly Delights - By Stan Brakhage (1981)
DVD/3 Mins/Silent/Not Rated
Time: Thursday April 11th th @ 7:45 PM
Place: Art City Mansion in Springville
Lots of parking. New friends welcome :)
See you there!
“F for Fake” (1973)
VHS/Essay Documentary/89 Mins/Color/Rated PG
Included in the ISMN lineup as an another example of as an attempt to create a new genre - “the experimental essay on film.”
This week Orson Welles takes you on a journey through fakeness and forgery, emphasizing that artists, writers and documentarians can pretty much make you believe what they want you to, and questions the ideas of authorship and experts.
Does this film seriously not have a single review on IMDB?
Here are some words about this film from several sources:
“A mockumentary essay about art forger Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving, Howard Hughes, (and Welles himself. The editing, which took Welles a solid year to complete, is exceptionally dense and tricky, but the mood is mainly lighthearted.” - Welles historian Jonathan Rosenbaum
Anonymous - “Orson Welles’ free-form documentary about fakery focuses on the notorious art forger Elmyr de Hory and Elmyr’s biographer, Clifford Irving, who also wrote the celebrated fraudulent Howard Hughes autobiography, then touches on the reclusive Hughes and Welles’ own career (which started with a faked resume and a phony Martian invasion). On the way, Welles plays a few tricks of his own on the audience.”
Amazon review excerpts by Bennet Pomerantz
“Orson Welles has a ball examining the nature of what is real and what is fake in the funny, bizarre F FOR FAKE.
The film master stroke is in the editing; from absurd stock footage to shots of Welles smirking into the camera from different locations to scenes with a monkey scurrying about, the film is vastly entertaining to watch.
F FOR FAKE is an underrated, under-appreciated work of comic genius about the nature of reality, celebrity, and art, by a master showman showing a surprisingly wicked sense of humor. Like a good magician, he makes us want more and more.
Welles has been a maverick filmmaker and it shows. Listen to the commentary track on this film, you will see either Welles the genius filmmaker or the madman…take your pick. I pick Genius and I am sticking to it!”
Most movies that I like are in the “not for everyone” category, and since this is one of my favorite films, that caveat is especially appropriate.
F for Fake is an intellectually challenging film that really requires its viewer to pay attention and follow multiple interweaved plots. Actually, “plot” isn’t the right word here: the film explores the theme of “what is real?” (as well as “what is art?”) using several real-life examples: notorious art forger Elmyr, and author Cliff Irving (whose Howard Hughes “autobiography” hoax is legendary in literary circles.) And let’s not forget Welles himself pulled off one of the most notorious hoaxes of the 20th Century: the War of the Worlds broadcast. If you enjoy seeing “con artists” at the top of their game, this is essential viewing.
Much of the movie was filmed “on the fly” as several simultaneous scandals shook the art and publishing world. This can make it difficult to follow for viewers with short attention spans who are used to linear, well-defined plots. Multiple viewings may be required to fully absorb all that is in this.
Although Welles is on-camera much of the time, the real star here was Welles off-camera in the editing room, where his genius really shines through when viewing the final product. Students of cinematography will undoubtedly be awed by his masterful handling of the material.
“There is no Orson Welles movie, no matter how influential and well regarded, that I love more than this master piece. This is Orson Welles at his best: just chating along in an entertaining, funny, witty, profound way, teaching you so much about himself, about humanity and about Life, as if it was just a walk in the park - he makes it look so easy to be a genius.
If I had to choose the proverbial film I would take with me to a deserted island, this would be the one. This is the guy I want to talk to forever if I’m ever allowed in whatever Paradise he’s in now.
This is all anyone needs to love the movies and Orson Welles. It is the one that will convert you into thinking you can’t really have one without the other.”
Of course not all reviews for this film are positive like the above. As you sift through the various reviewers on Amazon, people are either in love with this film and call it a masterpiece or they really hate it and are bored with it.
I also admit this is not for everyone, especially if you think all film should be linear. To me this film is more of a conversation. It is literally an essay on film, full of musings, fact and fiction, and brilliant editing.
Years ago upon finding this VHS, I knew nothing of it’s background, and very much enjoyed the journey this film gave me upon my first viewing.
Yes, Welles had an ego and much of this film is also commentary upon his own work and career, but you cannot deny his talent and distinct personality. I myself cannot help but be charmed by this work and claim that this is my favorite film by him. It is froth with style, exquisite attention to detail, complex layered editing, and a very fine example of 70’s mod cinema.
I love it and to me this film is like the privilege of spending time with excellent and eccentric company.
Bonus short film:
Film by Samuel Beckett
A twenty-minute, almost totally silent film (no dialogue or music one ‘shhh!’) in which Buster Keaton attempts to evade observation by an all-seeing eye. But, as the film is based around Bishop Berkeley’s principle ‘esse est percipi’ (to be is to be perceived), Keaton’s very existence conspires against his efforts Written by Michael Brooke—————————————————————————————————————————-
Time: Thursday April 4th @ 7:45 PM
Place: Art City Mansion in Springville
Lots of parking. Friends welcome :)
See you there!
Additional stills and posters from this film:
DVDR/89 Mins/Dubbed/Not Rated
Sometimes after hyping the SLC screenings on facebook, I forget to talk about them on the blog.
This is my birthday screening of ISMN. So to celebrate I’ve chosen an extremely rare film by one of my favorite actresses of all time: Ms. Polly Shang Kwan (Zodiac Fighers, Ghostly Face, Fight for Survival, etc.).
I don’t have much time to get this out so here is part of the review found on the fantastic Die Danger Die Kill Kill blog:
“Ah, sweet sustenance. Simply put, films like Little Hero are the reason that 4DK exists. Anarchic surrealism worthy of the most dedicated avant-garde provocateur? Check. The type of furious desire to entertain that could only be born of the most mercenary populism? Yep. Total disregard for conventional notions of narrative sense and cohesion? Uh huh. As far as weird-fu goes, this is the hard stuff. And standing at the center of it all, like a human signpost signaling our crossing over into this strange and wonderful territory, is one of the very goddesses of that rarified subgenre, Polly Shang Kwan.
With it’s ridiculous, makeshift costumes, grotesquely cartoonish characters and outlandish action, Little Hero could easily come across as a film designed for the soul purpose of humiliating its actors. That is, if its star showed the slightest signs of being phased by any of that.”
The full Die Danger Die review with more photos can be found here:
PS. Taiwan is also where I served my mission ;)
Bonus short film:
Valentine’s Date (2013)
DVD/6 Mins/Youtube Film
An odd local film by Joey Daniel and Jordan Harker bringing back my character “Ida” in her first debut film outside of “Craft Lady.”
Time: Tuesday March 26th @ 9:45 PM
Place: Brewvies Cinema and Pub in SLC
Price: Free (21 and Older)
See you there,
Please notice the time change this week.
VHS/Biography Drama/German with English Subtitles/110 Mins/Not Rated
(Rated PG in other countries)
Kaspar Hauser was a real person. According to wikipedia, his early existence went as follows: “At first it was assumed that he was raised half-wild in forests, but during many conversations with Mayor Binder, Hauser told a different version of his past life, which he later also wrote down in more detail. According to this story, for as long as he could remember he spent his life totally alone in a darkened cell about two metres long, one metre wide and one and a half high with only a straw bed to sleep on and a horse carved out of wood for a toy.
Knowing how director Herzog is drawn to the insane and extreme examples of unusual human existence, how could he resist not making a biopic film about this?
Plot excerpt from wikipedia (includes spoilers)
The film follows Kaspar Hauser (Bruno Schleinstein), who lived the first seventeen years of his life chained in a tiny cellar with only a toy horse to occupy his time, devoid of all human contact except for a man who wears a black overcoat and top hat who feeds him.
One day, in 1828, the same man takes Hauser out of his cell, teaches him a few phrases, and how to walk, before leaving him in the town of Nuremberg. Hauser becomes the subject of much curiosity, and is exhibited in a circus before being rescued by Herr Daumer (Walter Ladengast), who patiently attempts to transform him.
Hauser soon learns to read and write, and develops unorthodox approaches to logic and religion, but music is what pleases him most. He attracts the attention of academics, clergy, and nobility, but is then physically attacked by the same unknown man who brought him to Nuremberg. The attack leaves him unconscious with a bleeding head. He recovers but is again mysteriously attacked, this time stabbed in the chest.
Some notes about the death of K.H.:
… on 14 December 1833, Hauser came home with a deep wound in his left breast. He said that he was lured to the Ansbach Court Garden and that a stranger stabbed him there while giving him a bag. When Policeman Herrlein searched the Court Garden, he found a small violet purse containing a pencilled note in “Spiegelschrift” (mirror writing). The message read, in German:
“Hauser will be able to tell you quite precisely how I look and from where I am. To save Hauser the effort, I want to tell you myself from where I come _ _ . I come from from _ _ _ the Bavarian border _ _ On the river _ _ _ _ _ I will even tell you the name: M. L. Ö.”
Hauser died of his wound on 17 December 1833.
Inconsistencies in Hauser’s account led the Ansbach court of inquiry to suspect that he stabbed himself and invented a tale about being attacked. The note in the purse that was found in the Court Garden contained one spelling error and one grammatical error, both of which were typical for Hauser, who, on his deathbed, kept muttering incoherencies about “writing with pencil”. Although he was very eager that the purse be found, he did not ask for its contents. The note itself was folded in a specific triangular form, just the way Hauser used to fold his letters, according to Mrs. Meyer. Forensic doctors agreed that the wound could indeed be self-inflicted. Many authors believe that he wounded himself in a bid to revive public interest in his story and to convince Stanhope to fulfill his promise to take him to England, but that he then stabbed himself more deeply than planned.
- End of quote
This is an unusual poetic and wonky little film from a very odd true story. Like many of Herzog’s films, this is something that is definitely not for everyone, especially people who like their films to have wrapped up conclusions in a nice tidy package. It may leave you confused, but then again, that may help you to relate to the people who witnessed this life story.
Like most ISMN films, I try to warn you what you are in for. This comic strip excerpt about this week’s film also says it nicely:
Here are a couple IMDB reviews:
Strange masterpiece by master filmmaker
A truely visionary work!!I have always been fascinated with the story that this film tells. Herzog seems to be an expert at showing the way that an outsider relates to the world. Bruno S. is amazing in the lead role , Herzog has definitely made the right casting choice. The movie is just a must for all fans of cinema, even if your not a Herzog fanatic you will still be moved by this extraordinary vision!!!
The story of a soul, 9 February 2000
Author: solitaryman2 from Brescia, Italy
“This is the story of a soul”, someone said and I agree because loneliness is here described through a slow moving plot and endless silences which make us see Kaspar Hauser not as a man but as something more sulfuric, almost a being from outer space. The performance of Bruno S. is simply moving and caused me a lot of tears and the use of time through the narration is perfect for a film of this kind. The poetic vision of Werner Herzog is very peculiar and unique and you can love it or hate it but you cannot ignore it. Herzog doesn’t care about the audience, he tells what it wants in the way he likes and that’s the praise and the defect of European cinema and it’s what makes the difference between European authors and American ones.
(Above: This is what our copy of the film looks like in the archive.)
Bonus Short Films:
Early Abstractions by Harry Smith
If you loved “Heaven and Earth Magic” you will probably be drooling to see this short display of Harry Smith’s early work.
”Eye Myth” by Stan Brakhage
DVD/1 Min/Color/Not Rated
Time: Thursday March 21st @ 7:30 PM
Place: Art City Mansion, Springville
See you there :)
(Above: An actual drawing by Kaspar - 1829)