Fragmented Films DVD Column 25th Oct 08

In the audio commentary to his 1968 sci fi sexploitation shocker Space Thing (Siren), schlock producer and shyster extraordinare David F Friedman laments that “We could show beaver but not pickles.” Some forty years on things have changed. There’s enough pickles in 2008’s Destricted (Accent) to make your local greengrocer jealous. And who knew that pickles were actually part of a beaver’s diet? 

Destricted is so rude and nasty that it comes in a black box without pictures. Yet it’s done with such high art sensibilities that you’d hesitate to tar it with a sexploitation brush. That’s despite the presence of Larry Clark (Kids/Ken Park), who’s penchant for pre pubescent boys with their shirts off never ceases to disturb. It’s six short films from some of the more boundary pushing artists around, exploring issues of sex, art and pornography. It begins with Bjork’s squeeze, Mathew Barney (Cremaster Cycle) a video artist who’s works vary from tedious to wrong, often at the same time. His piece Hoist is hilarious, a man with a pineapple shoved up his ass pleasures himself by rubbing his erect pickle against the lubed up drive-shaft of a giant caterpillar truck which has been hoisted by a crane for this very purpose. It’s so pretentiously filmed that it can’t help but confuse. Extreme French director Gaspar Noe (Irreversible) shoots his load to immediately, masturbation with the most annoying moving camera and strobe effects and Marina Abramovic, Sam Taylor Wood and Richard Prince also fiddle with their pickles and beavers to varying success. Not surprisingly the most provocative and wrongest moments come from Mr Clark. He places an add in the paper requesting volunteers to have sex with a porn star. He interviews each applicant on camera about their sexual history and relationship with porn.  Then he makes them strip so he can see their pickle. It’s terrifying. These young men’s views on sexuality have totally been hijacked by cumshots and boob jobs. Clark suspiciously picks the most pre pubescent looking volunteer, who then takes on the role of interviewer, asking a gaggle of porn starlets similar questions. He then choses the one he wishes to mount. Trust me when I say from here on in, if it wasn’t already, it’s very creepy and wrong. It doesn’t say ‘Actual Sexual Activity’ on this black box for nothing.  

Suddenly exploitation is cool again, particularly Ozploitation, thanks to the upcoming doco Not Quite Hollywood (Madman), which drags our seedy sorry cinematic past back into the spotlight like a guilty teenager caught playing with his pickle. It has the ultimate seal of approval,Tarantino theft, sorry,  homage. The person crawling around the bonnet of the speeding car in Death Proof came straight from the 1986 Australian film Fair Game (Beyond). Fair game is your classic rape revenge film, except thankfully the rape is left out. Set in an outback wildlife sanctuary Cassandra Delaney (who would go on to marry John Denver) is terrorised by three bogan Kangaroo poachers with big guns and a souped up 4×4, with evil red eyes that sounds like a lion roaring when idling.  In Not Quite Hollywood Tarantino speaks of the film’s did I just see that? moment. After destroying her house the baddies strip her nude, tie her to the front of the car like a ‘human hood ornament’ and hoon around whooping self consciously like 13 year olds who’ve just watched Destricted. This wrongness only adds to the joy. This, like Vegemite is something we can be proud of.

David Lynch’s Inland Empire (Directors Suite) is a Hollywood art film, where time, space, texture and light are all tools to be manipulated. He has moved so far beyond conventional narrative that he’s operating on levels far beyond his contemporaries. We’re talking Jodorowsky meets Fellini, epic, nonsensical exhilarating genius. His best film since Eraserhead. It’s just as painful and twice as long. Extras include some great interviews.

Fox news is worse than dumb news for dumb people. It’s biased news for people too preoccupied to have minds. You wont believe how blatant they are. Outfoxed (Dv1) is a doco that will have your blood boiling and it’s been reduxed for 2008 with extra features, offering a unique perspective about the organised right wing propaganda machine that Obahma’s up against.

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