Sunday, January 20, 2013

Movies 101 - Pink Flamingos

Pink Flamingos – 93min – NC17

Babs Johnson (Devine) is the filthiest person alive. She lives in a trailer on the run with her mom Edie (Edith massy) and her son Crackers (Danny Mills) and her lover Cotton (Mary Vivian Pearce). A local couple Raymond and Connie Marble (David Lochary and Mink Stole) want to take her title away because they are the filthiest people alive. The move goes from one rude crass scene to another and stops and takes a breath by showing something only mildly offence and then goes back to more of the rude and crass stuff. It was billed as an exercise in bad taste for good reason. Some of the list of offences it showcases are rape, kidnapping, white slavery, indecent exposure, incest, cannibalism, corophagia, drug usage, murder, arson and theft. I am sure there are others but I am having a hard time remembering them. I think it’s because my subconscious is deleting that night completely from my memory out of self preservation.

This movie was kind of put together in a “let’s see if we can film some of the most socking and vile things we can” way. Apparently John Waters (the director ,writer, producer, cameraman... everything) borrowed ten thousand dollars from his parents and got all of his friends together on the odd weekend to put together this film. It was a huge underground midnight movie success. This movie is completely and totally horrible, and I mean not from a content stand point. This is truly an amateur film that was trying to get attention by not having any talent but the ability to shock the viewers. No matter how awful this movie is you have to acknowledge that John Waters has brought us some wonderful films in his career. I think this movie shows us the starting point of his talent. He had grit to handle all aspects of making his film and did get better over time. He has made some really memorable films that have excellent messages. He is also known for his flashes of poor taste and his love of the exaggeration of the social dynamic of the fringe elements of society.

I really don’t see any historical or meaningful significance for watching this film and I think that this was added to the list of 102 films only to show the low point in cinema. Do you remember the high school joke of telling a joke that makes no sense but at the end you and all your friends laugh as it is the most hilarious joke ever told to make the new person to the group feel stupid; this is what this movie feels like and I am the new guy to the group.

My Take Away:

Film making is a journey, once you start making movies you refine your style and try new things with each film. It’s easy to make light of how bad this movie is but you have to understand it’s the predecessor to some better films from him. From Pink Flamingoes to Hairspray they are all a part of one film maker’s journey. You may not like his style of film making but his art as improved over the years. His subjects always have this hint of subculture and sarcasm. As I think about it, I am glad I saw this film. I am also glad I don’t ever have to see it again.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Movies 101 - Repulsion

Repulsion - 105min – UR

What do you get if you slip into the head of a young woman’s broken mind? Repulsion brings you along the reality crumbling ride that is on a fast track to madness. The movie focuses on Carol (Catherine Deneuve) she lives with her sister, Helen (Yvonne Furneaux), in London. She is a withdrawn young woman who works in a beauty salon. She is quiet and awkward and works with many people but seems completely alone. She has caught the eye of Colin (John Fraser) who repeatedly asks her out but she refuses. When Carol’s sister decides to take a vacation with her lover, Michael (Ian Hendry), she leaves her fragile sister alone with her thoughts. With no grounding influence from her sister Carol falls rapidly into madness. With the Apartment crumbling around her and the walls literally reaching out to molest her and memories of an abuser from the past she has no way to keep a hold of reality. When Helen and Michael return they finder her in a catatonic state under a bed and two dead bodies in the apartment that has wallowed in rotting flesh and disarray.

 This Psychological thriller is Roman Polanski’s first English film. This black and white film started off feeling like “Breathless” in its free floating form as we follow Carol through her life. It turned subtly and crept into a movie that was hard for me to watch. It was immensely creepy and made me want to intervene with the character and get her some help. I guess this is a mark of a great film when you are completely engrossed and have such a connection to the characters. She had this reoccurring dream/ fantasy of being molested by someone. I thought that she was remembering things form her child hood, she takes along tie to look at a old picture of her when she was a child and the picture has her isolated and with grim look on her face. She might be looking at the male in the picture so it could have been him that harmed her when she was younger.

The special effects were subtle and were really good at making me doubt that I saw what I saw. The use of bells and the isolation of the apartment really made the background of her reality expand and contrast depending on the need of the scene. When I first saw the apartment it looked like a very small studio. While she was alone it seemed to grow and it was larger than I first thought. I think this adds to the isolation feeling. The complete separation from humanity in her mind was now manifested in her apartment.

My take way:

I had a few problems with some of the characters, Colin is a compete mystery to me. When you have been rejected and the woman of your desires really does not seem into you, Dude move on, time to start fresh with someone else. I wonder if he had some senses that she needed help but could not identify that and interpreted it as desire. She was extremely attractive but also completely emotionally withdrawn.

 I got this film from Netflix on DVD.