Cinecast Episode 427 – Stretching the Bubblegum

Was it the weather or is it the shitty inconvenient way films are released in theaters these days? Or does it depend on your geography or disposition? Or a little bit of everything? In short, we didn’t get to the “main releases” (of boats in storms or feminist westerns) this week and instead opted for some VOD experimentation with Vincent Cassell in Partisan. A solid film with problems is the verdict. The Watch List is fairly eclectic this week but a whole lotta witchin’ going on. From Winona Ryder to Vin Diesel, we cover the gamut. Andrew and Kurt also spend some time in the kitchen cooking up some spaghetti westerns before heading to Southeast Asia for a thriller and some kung-fu. Like a snake in the eagle’s shadow, there is no escape for the good the bad or the ugly; there most certainly will be blood inside Llewyn Davis.

#sorrynotsorry

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

 

 
 

partisan-cinecast

 
Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: Miss Violence

In a post-Dogtooth world, New Greek cinema has come to be represented by a disturbing deadpan absurdity, where violence and nonsense culminated to say something profound. It appears that Alexandros Avranas’ Miss Violence is certainly going to continue that trend. Kudos to finding another innovative way to use a Leonard Cohen song in here, that task is getting harder and hard. The film gets its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, and hopefully, it’ll end up in TIFF (and other festival programmes in the near future.)

On the day of her birthday, eleven-year-old Angeliki jumps off the balcony and falls to her death with a smile on her face. While the police and Social Services try to discover the reason for this apparent suicide, Angeliki’s family keep insisting that it was an accident. What is the secret that young Angeliki took with her? Why does her family persist in trying to “forget” her and to move on with its life? These are the answers that the people from Social Services look for when they visit the family’s clean and orderly home. The father has made sure nothing is missing and that everything is where it belongs. It seems as if nothing can betray them. But Angeliki’s younger brother unintentionally reveals clues which will gradually shatter the family’s well polished world, forcing them to come face to face with that which, for so many years, they have been hiding or could not bear to see. One by one they will break down, until finally violence will once again offer the solution, keeping the family united and the secret safe.

Teaser for ALPS from Dogtooth Director, Yorgos Lanthimos

Speaking of over-using songs, is that the start of the O Fortuna! Movement from Carmina Burana? No matter, this is the quite esoteric teaser for the new film from the director of Dogtooth; if you want strange, you got it.

A nurse, a paramedic, a gymnast and her coach have formed a service for hire. They stand in for dead people by appointment, hired by the relatives, friends, or colleagues of the deceased. The company, ALPS operate under a discipline regime demanded by their leader. The nurse doesn’t…

The teaser is tucked under the seat.

Would you like to know more…?

5 Things the World can Learn from Dogtooth. *MAJOR SPOILERS*

 

 

“Art is lies that tell the truth.” On one hand it is easy to dismiss such a graphic oddity such as Yorgos Lanthimos Oscar Nominated provocation Dogtooth (David’s Review). On the other, its brand of pitch-black comedy and hybridized cocktail of surrealism and lizard-brain-intellectualism (David Lynch, meet Michael Haneke) does get at exposing some things about how society functions at the microscopic level: Indoctrination and conformity to what you have been taught. Are you Christian because you parents were, because you were born in a certain part of the world? Muslim? Buddhist? Liberal? Conservative? If anything Dogtooth is a bit optimistic that we can all transcend, but boy-oh-boy if you do not have a basic toolkit, you are likely still going to be in a truck-load of trouble.
 
 
Rearing children is and is not dog training.
 
 
You can argue nature vs. nurture until you are blue in the face, but Dogtooth spends a lot of time equating the discipline of children to obedience training of canines. The title even derives from the made-up concept told from the parents to the children that people become adults when they lose their large incisor, their “dogtooth.” (left or right side is not important.) Cats are the ultimate enemy on the outside (and occasionally the inside) of the family compound. Rubbing the nose in the crime is shown by the assault of a VHS tape (duct taped to father’s hand like a training mitt) after watching forbidden films. The the arc of the film is this: How long can these kids (presumably late teens to early twenties) be stuck at adolescence playing low-stakes children games, collecting stickers (or giving a lick to a body-part as an act of soliciting a gift) before they find a way to grow up, with or without the help of their ‘masters?’ How entrenched in the human psyche is ignorance and submission? Children are bound to explore the extent of their own limits, well beyond any sort of disciplinary action. In short, kids grow up and dogs stay dogs.
 
 
Parenting may be a full time job, but over-parenting is performance art.
 
 
The lengths that the two parents go to in Dogtooth to raise their 3 children (possibly 4 at one point) sheltered from everything is both inspiring and disturbing. Nobody is more dedicated (or deluded) as these two thinking that they can be the only act of influence on their children’s lives. Horror (and satire) is best executed by taking an aspect of society and exaggerating it beyond recognition. The parents depriving their children of any form of coping mechanism to their emotions (other than some minor rewards and a new set of anxieties and fears) is one of the key sources of conflict in Dogtooth, something underscored by how the female security guard paid to service the son eventually seeds the destruction of the whole family, simply by interacting in brief fits and starts with three children. And some times you should just let your kids watch big American blockbusters such as Jaws, Rocky and Flashdance; if nothing else than it livens up the household charades night. When the security guard is removed from the picture, incest is the only viable option that will keep their sons urges in check and not upset the harmony of the household. Yup, performance-art.
 
 
Xenophobia creates the worst kind of monsters.
 
 
Watching the youngest daughter get a little miffed at her older brother and slash him with the kitchen knife, or later, offscreen, whack him with a hammer, tends to underscore that willful ignorance and sheltering from any engagement to the outside world is the worst possible thing you can do for human beings. There is a reason for the phrase anti-social behavior. Certain aspects of Japanese culture (one of the most ‘culturally pure countries’ (i.e. Xenophobic) over the centuries have also produced some of the worst atrocities (their treatment of the Chinese and Koreans over centuries), while ‘Fortress America’ operating unilaterally starting with Vietnam and moving into the 21st century has its own brand.
 
 
Xenophobia with a healthy dose of righteousness and hypocrisy is worse.
 
 
Certainly the worst aspects of religion (from Muslim extremists to the Westboro Baptist Church) are brought about by the leaders preaching one thing and doing something else. When the parents shelter their kids of damning influences of the outside world but need bad pornography to get the romantic spark going in their own relationship, well, what then? Dogtooth never drops the full set of intentions of the two parents with any easy exposition or explanation, but one imagines in their strange minds, they have only the best intentions for their young ones.
 
 
Life Will Find a Way
 
 
The climactic losing of the ‘dogtooth’ by the eldest demonstrates Ian Malcom’s (the mathematician played by Jeff Goldblum from Jurassic Park) theory that all forms of control will only spur on new levels of inspired biology and instinct. When language and vocabulary show a solution to ‘growing up and getting out of the house’ she is not above speeding things along with a set of running-weights. This scene is graphic and messy and evolution at its best.

Who would have thought that one 94 minute film that is violent, suspenseful, entertaining, weird and gorgeous to look at could cover such a wide number of topics: Language, Religion, Parenting, Evolution, Sociology, Hollywood Cinema, and the absolute evil nature of cats. It has less than a snowballs chance in hell of winning the Foreign Language statue from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but they are onto something for giving this one a nod.

DOGTOOTH Trailer

Dogtooth

Somewhat of an infamous film on the festival circuit for the last year and change, Yorgos Lanthimos’ satire Dogtooth is hyped as weird, transgressive, darkly funny and gorgeous to boot. Kino is very brave to release this one, although I am not holding out much hope for a release beyond New York City. If you are listening Toronto theatre programmers, please get a 35mm print up here for those who missed it at TIFF last year. Dogtooth gets a single screen release on June 25th.

Three teenagers are confined to an isolated country estate that could very well be on another planet. The trio spend their days listening to endless homemade tapes that teach them a whole new vocabulary. Any word that comes from beyond their family abode is instantly assigned a new meaning. Hence ‘the sea’ refers to a large armchair and ‘zombies’ are little yellow flowers. Having invented a brother whom they claim to have ostracized for his disobedience, the uber-controlling parents terrorize their offspring into submission. The father is the only family member who can leave the manicured lawns of their self-inflicted exile, earning their keep by managing a nearby factory, while the only outsider allowed on the premises is his colleague Christina, who is paid to relieve the son of his male urges. Tired of these dutiful acts of carnality, Christina enlists the elder daughter for some girl-on-girl action, carelessly disturbing the domestic balance. Soon enough, sex has spread throughout the household like fire. Next stop: rebellion.

Trailer (possibly NSFW) is tucked under the seat. (more on the style and structure here)

Would you like to know more…?