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undefinable

The Kingdom 1 & 2 * Lars von Trier (94/97)

Kingdom 1 & 2I already had the “Riget” series, the first on crappy UK import DVD and the second on VHS, read my reviews by “browsing” “Riget”. Last week my eye fell on a 20 euros 2 DVD box with both series. That is even cheaper than my videotapes and I would have them on DVD and the first series with subtitles. To my major enjoyment I can also tell you that this box left all episode intro and outros and this release left 8 uncut hour+ episodes and not cut back to 50 minute episodes. This is the ultimate “Riget” box! Every episode starts with the story about the swamp and every episode ends with a little story by the director; the way it should be! So I suppose all you “Riget” fans out there might also want to lay your hands on this box, even if you already have the series like myself. Country mates best go to the Free Records Shop, since it is cheaper there than elsewhere.
-4.5-

Destricted * various directors * 2006

“Destricted” consists of seven short films that supposedly hold the middle between arthouse and pornography. This description may be applied to two or three of the films, but not to the rest. I had noticed the film at the rental, but put it back every time until the last. The box has some nice images, the idea could interesting, something different from those boring ‘right-on’ films, but would it really work? Well, there is a film about a man with a machine fetish, which is interesting from a cinematographic viewpoint. Also there is very fast compilation of images accompanied with fast drumming music. A weird pulsating film with very busy filming and montage that shows a man’s weird sexual preference and now and then a very nice girl. All alright, but nothing too interesting. Worse than that are downright pornos or a simple film of a man masturbating in the desert. Actually there is only one film that I found interesting both as a film and for the content. It is called “Balkan Erotic Epic” (by Marina Abramovic) which is presented as some sort of documentary about some very strange Baltic erotic folklore habbits (no idea if they are factual). The film has very bright colours, nice settings and a lot of humour. Another documentary contains interviews with young men who grew up with pornography (because their parents posess films or because they started watching the films with friends at an early age) and in the end, one is picked out to choose an actress to do something with which he wanted to try. Perhaps this one is interesting for sociologists and it shows a few things around the whole subject, but like almost any other of the films, it is just of a minor level and not too good a watch. Not knowing what to expect, the project still disappointed me. I don’t know for what audience the film is, since some films are too explicit for an arthouse audience and most others are not straight forward’ enough for people who enjoy the other genre. I will leave it to you if you are interested enough to go and see it. With seven very different films, there could also for you be one that is enjoyable.
-2-

Nuit Noire * Olivier Smolders * 2005

I have a friend who should actually have a filmreviews site. He always has the weirdest films, most unknown titles and the rest a year earlier than most people. This time he brought me a Belgian film which premiered in France in 2005 and in most other countries in 2006. “Nuit Noire” (“dark night”) is a strange film of a director probably from French-speaking Belgium (the film is in French). At first sight it seems that the film goes back and forth the ‘real world’ and the mind of a man who thinks his sister died at a young age, but soon it becomes clear that the ‘real world’ isn’t quite normal either. The film is pretty dark and plays at night(s) and is very minimalistic in dialogue and sound. This creates a nice, pressing atmosphere which slowly works towards more a kind of mystery so it is not that strange to take David Lynch as comparison. The story (if there is any) gets more and more confusing and weird. Between the dark shots of the film, crystal clear close-ups of insects are put which are either symbolic or just have to add to the strange atmosphere. “Nuit Noire” turned out very well and I can recommend it to people who like dark thriller/horror movies and who do not need a straight and understandable story.
-4-

INLAND EMPIRE * David Lynch * 2007

Watching a David Lynch film is like listening to a power-electronics album. It is not for most people, because most people will be looking for melodies, lyrics and a feel-good atmosphere, rather than oppressive darkness, chaos and violence. The same goes for a film such as INLAND EMPIRE. Film critics have been looking for logic, a story, a nice atmosphere and a happy end, but they have found none of that and therefor slay this film to the ground. What INLAND EMPIRE brings you is a very ‘industrial’ opening, weird characters, strange filming, absurd dialogues, scenes that (apparently) have nothing to do with eachother, a story that is ‘incorrect’ and confusing (actually there seems to be a multitude of ‘stories’) and most of all: extremely dark scenes, eruptions of violence and disturbing images. Indeed, Lynch-fans can be reassured, INLAND EMPIRE is in the style of Lost Highway and Mullholland Drive. In a way, it continues the ‘path’ where the other two point to.Where Lost Highway had two stories (and ‘unconnected scenes’) and Mullholland Drive several, INLAND EMPIRE seems just a collection of short films rather than a film. It has elements of the sitcom “Rabbits” (that I haven’t seen), hallucinative scenes, typical ‘Lynchial’ close-ups with industrial background music, different stories that somehow seem to form a red line, but maybe that is not the case at all. You guessed it: I am not going to tell you a story, I will not going to analyze the different elements. The biggest mistake you can make with a film such as this, is to approach it rationally. Somehow everything has its place. Like the electronic noise terror of a power electronics release, the artist has carefully put it together, undoubtely with an idea, but if the artist leaves out an ‘explanation’, all you can do is undergo it and enjoy the atmosphere. Somehow I like one power-electronics release, but another not. In film there isn’t such a variety, there is Lynch and a few other ‘weird directors’ that don’t care about how things are supposed to be. I happen to like Lynch. His films are impressive and because they cannot be understood, I can watch them over and over again, like I can listen to music over and over again. Maybe a final note for Lynch-likers like myself: Lost Highway is magnificent, Mullholland Drive is very good, INLAND EMPIRE is good, but it seems like Lynch is trying to be weirder and weirder which makes it more and more difficult to ‘get into’. Of course I have only seen INLAND EMPIRE once now, but at the moment it seems that with Lost Highway Lynch has reached his peak for me and now it is slowly (and I say “slowly”) going down. No worries, because INLAND EMPIRE still is a film that you have to see if you can stand a film like this and I adivise you to see it on the big screen, even when it only plays in a few cinemas. A last thing about the camera work, as you know Lynch shot the film with digital handycames (that he partially handled himself!), this is sometimes irritating (shaky images, not too good quality), sometimes fitting. Concider it as a typical David Lynch experiment and don’t worry about it.

Twin Peaks second series 1990/1 – David Lynch (2007)

It is a magnificent day for a Dutch Lynch-freak. Today “Inland Empire” premieres (in only five cities!) and we are going to see it coming sunday. Also, after almost five years of waiting, the often anounced boxset with the remaining Twin Peaks episodes is available!! The ‘first series’ was 7 episodes (you had to buy the pilot separately if you got the American version like me, I believe the European version has 8 episodes) and now we are finally up for the remaining 22. The series proved successfull enough to allow Lynch to make more episodes, yet it never came to a third series. The box of the second series is nothing compared to that of the first. There is no tranparant plastic case this time, just a cardboard box holding two ‘digipacks’ with two halves of the second series (which are released separately in Germany I heard). The artwork seems to have been tried to give a ‘modern look’. Why does the dwarve have white eyes on the box and what about this strange frontcover?
You can imagine that I haven’t yet watched the 22 remaining episodes, I just got the box! I have seen Twin Peaks a couple of times and I am not going to say anything except that this is the best that ever appeared on TV. If you don’t know Twin Peaks, you will have to start with the first series anyway (read my review of many years ago) and the rest will be excited by the news that the remaining episodes are truely finally available on DVD.

A Zed & Two Noughts * Peter Greenaway * 1985

Another old film by the magnificent director Peter Greenaway that has been made available on DVD. Now there is also a series with “the early films of Peter Greenaway”. I am still eagerly awaiting Greenaways absolute masterpiece “Prospero’s Books” to be released on DVD. I did notice that “The Baby Of Mâcon” has been released on DVD, so I hope it is only a matter of time. Anyway, I hadn’t heard of “ZOO” yet, but Greenaway has many films that I haven’t seen. “ZOO” is a typical Greenaway film. A long line of strange scenes made around a thin story that only serves as starting point. Greenaway took a few absurd (or even taboo?) subjects, uses his famous amount of nudity and inverted sexual moral and again managed to create a dreamy atmosphere with great camera work and music. The story plays around a zoo where two women mysteriously died and another survived. All people involved are somehow connected to the zoo. Again a very good film of one of my favorite directors.

Videodrome * David Cronenberg (1983)

It has been many, many years since I saw this film, too many. For some reason a magnificent classic like this isn’t shown on TV very often either. Maybe because of the fact that my girlfriend recently bought “Naked Lunch”, another classic from the same director, but also because of the many references to this film (samples, titles, etc.) by the French noise-act Propergol I really wanted to see “Videodrome” again. And thus happened!
“Horror” is the genre of “Videodrome”, but not the gory splatter kind of horror (however in a few scenes Cronenberg thought he had to live upto expectations), but a magnificent dense atmosphere does the trick. The story is great too. TV is getting too much influence on the minds of men and “The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears in the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore, television is reality, and reality is less than television.” A provocative idea, but not entirely grapped from the air. How many people will confuse the lifes of soapstars (and the way they look) with real life or think that ‘real live soaps’ are real? “Videodrome” goes even further. Signals have been put under the images to influence the viewers (this actually happened in the 1950’ies), but in this case, the signals are put under extreme sexually violent images because these images open the human receptors so the signals ‘get in easier’. I suppose that is not how far contemporary experimentation has gone, “but I still think it’s hard to imagine a more thoughtful or accomplished series of investigations into the dark side of the modern day.” (quote).
A film with a great atmosphere, a philosophy (“and that’s what makes it dangerous” Masha says about Videodrome in the film), a few flaws and poor scenes, but heh, this is a classic that you have to watch (again) if you asked me. -13/5/06-

Twin Peaks – Fire Walk With Me * David Lynch * 1992

This film is actually a weak afterbirth of the popular Twin Peaks series. Having left the viewers with many unanswered questions after the series, Lynch returned with “the chilling truth behind Laura’s final days”. Indeed you get to see who killed her, but real answers aren’t here either. Fortunately! Watching this film I actually have to conclude that it may well be almost as good as the series themselves. It is much darker, far much stranger and Lynch really seemed to have wanted to give everyone who wanted simple answers a punch in the face. Not the answers people were waiting for for sure! A lovely film that you really shouldn’t watch before you saw the series.

Of course I saw this one many years ago, but recently I bought the UK DVD. No extras whatsoever, but who gives a damn.

Twin Peaks – the first season special edition DVD * David Lynch * 1990/2002

Without a doubt “Twin Peaks” is the best thing that ever happened in television-history. Reshown on several TV-stations several times, but now we have been ‘Peaksless’ for far too many years. Long ago the complete series have been made available on video. You can either look for the tapes, but I believe they are still obtainable when you know your sources. Too long after the introduction of the DVD “Twin Peaks” is available again. First in America of course, a few weeks ago Europe followed.

The editions are very different though. The European version is twice as expensive as the American version. One reason for this may be that the European version includes the pilot and the American doesn’t (…). Hoping that the American version would instead include the first episode (there is actually a pilot AND a first episode), I got the American version with the idea that I would get the pilot later. However the count starts at episode 1, this is not the first episode! Laura has already been found, Dale Cooper is already in Twin Peaks and you are already supposed to know the characters. That is really too bad, because I would have loved to get both the pilot and the first episode…

Anyway, the first series are episodes 1 to 7. Two episodes per disc plus extras on the fourth disc. Also there are some extras on the discs with the episodes, like introductions by the log-lady.

I am not going to tell you about the series. I AM going to tell you about the “special edition DVD” though. It comes in a cardboard box that you can unfold until you can place/take four discs and a small booklet. The artwork is beautiful. The box comes in a plastic slip with the picture of Laura Palmer and when you take the box out, you get the ‘wrapped in plastic’ look of her. 7 Times 45 minutes. Hell, I will have re-viewed them in a week and then I will have to wait for the second series which aren’t available yet… A Peaks-freaks must-buy!

The Tulse Luper Suitcases, part 1., the moab story * Peter Greenaway * 2003

I noticed that many of the older films of Greenaway are being released on DVD and I asumed that this was one of them. It seems -though- that the “Tulse Luper Suitcases” is a trilogy and quite recent too. However Greenaway is one of my favorite directors and this is again a typical Greenaway film, I didn’t like this film too much. The film contains the Greenaway picture-in-picture style, long scenes, taboos and nudity, but usually the man sets an atmosphere, mostly by use of repetative classical music, that I miss in this film. The ‘story’ (there never seems to be a real story in Greenaway’s films) is about a young man (Tulse Luper) who is frequently imprisoned. So often even that his life goes to play around it and he sees imprisonment as art. Luper structures his life in (I believe) 18 suitcases and 92 items that define life. A lot of stress is put on the Mormons and their philosophies. In a way, this film is a biography of Greenaway. Luper supposedly made films that were made by Greenaway ‘for real’. Anyway, a typical Greenaway film, therefor already interesting, but in comparison to the man’s other films, not the best.