A reckless boy with a gun is disciplined by the leader of his tribe in this dialogue-free short.
Julian’s public mental breakdown is caught in one continuous shot. His antics capture the attention of his neighbors who wait for a reason to become involved.
Content Warning: This short contains strong language.
This short is based on a tradition held every Holy Saturday in parts of Latin America. Objectively, burning a giant effigy of Judas isn’t quite as weird as dressing up in a bunny costume, and placing candy-filled eggs throughout your yard. That being said, your neighbors likely aren’t the objective type, and no one is going to stop you from doing both.
Sculptor/filmmaker J.S. Avila takes us on a creepy cinematic tour of his 2010 piece “Radioactive Flesh.”
Cool 3D World is a YouTube channel that quickly became infamous for uploading some of the weirdest videos on the web. The Dreaming Boy is a good video to start with while you decide whether or not you want to work your way up to the stuff you’ll later regret seeing.
An alien figure seeks to take the life of his bound and sightless victim.
DIRECTED BY: David Blair
FEATURING: David Blair
PLOT: A “supernatural photographer” and beekeeper searching for evidence of the afterlife buys a hive of rare, disease-resistant Mesopotamian bees. Years later, his grandson Jacob, who works as a software engineer designing flight simulators for warplanes, inherits the insects. The hive gives him visions, then drones pierce his skin and insert a crystal—which allows him to see the bees’ version of television—to direct him in his destiny as a metaphysical assassin.
- Wax took six years to complete and was partially funded with grants from German Public Television, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Film Institute, and other private and state charitable endowments.
- Jacob’s grandfather, James “Hive” Maker, is played by (in a non-speaking role).
- First broadcast on German television in 1991, this shot-on-video feature never received a true theatrical release, although it was blown up to 16mm film for limited screenings in 1993.
- The New York Times reported that Wax was be the first feature-length motion picture to be broadcast on the Internet.
- A “hypermedia” version of Wax, or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees is available for free viewing at a site hosted by the University of Virginia. The movie is available to watch or download for free on Vimeo under a Creative Commons license.
- Two years ago, Blair said that he was still working on a sequel, which has been in progress for at least seven years.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Oddly enough, in a movie with so many digital distortions and abstract psychedelic graphics, it’s the shots of Jacob in his white beekeeping suit that stick in the mind the most—because, absurdly, he almost never takes it off, whether trudging through the steaming desert or walking past banks of supercomputers at his job at a military facility. Even when cuddling with his wife in front of the TV, he only takes off his hat. The suit becomes both a symbol of Jacob’s insular insanity, and a low budget substitute for a spacesuit a la 2001: A Space Odyssey, as Jacob ventures into cosmic realms far beyond ordinary human conception.
THREE WEIRD THINGS: Semi-intelligent missiles; the dead on the Moon; the Planet of Television
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: This is a “documentary” about a man who is sent to the Planet of the Dead via bee television in order to kill the reincarnation of his grandfather’s brother-in-law, thereby becoming Cain, before being reincarnated in paradise. I think. The story is utterly insane, although it makes complete sense to bees.
The first ten minutes of Wax, or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees
COMMENTS: When I first watched Wax, or the Discovery of Television Continue reading 270. WAX, OR THE DISCOVERY OF TELEVISION AMONG THE BEES (1991)
David Blair’s contribution to the 1996 compilation feature film is pretty out there. The narrator reads a tale of telepathy, invasion, and survival while CGI figures spin across the screen.
This is the first episode in a series by weird animator Jack Wedge called “Domo the Destroyer”. There’s some live-action footage of a snake drinking water from a glass, and an animation of a demonic-looking bunny receiving a package in the mail.
Content Warning: This short contains strong language.
DIRECTED BY: ,
FEATURING: Joana Castro, Bruno Senune, Carina de Matos, Falvia Barabas, Daniel Pires
PLOT: Shuffling between the interior and exterior of a building (with guest appearances from some jagged cliffside rocks), various symbolic events occur because of the actions of various symbolic people.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: This clutter of film scenes might be interpreted as “weird”, but I’m leery to describe the onscreen capering as a “movie”. Perhaps it’s just my staggering lack of interpretive skills, but when the characters are only somewhat explainable because you read the opening credits, I find the “movie” part a bit wanting. Not much is clear, and the lack of dialogue handily augments the altogether excessive incoherence of the narrative.
COMMENTS: I shall begin by saying that Daniel Fawcett and Clara Pais may well have accomplished something impressive with their symbol-ridden film, The Kingdom of Shadows. Throughout the film there are little hiccups of inspired images that, in isolation, would make for compelling photographs to ponder. The lack of dialogue lends itself to a lack of explanation, but that allows for a mutuality of incomprehension across the globe. Unfortunately, it leaves the viewer grasping blindly for what it is the filmmakers are trying to say.
The story proper (I am guessing) begins weirdly enough with a pair of golden hands magically boiling up a pot of water. What ensues is a long-form mishmash of figurative images and sequences that vaguely intrigue, and certainly baffle, the viewer. A furtive young man appears during the bridging sequences, who may be acting as witness, along with us viewers. Inside a 19th-century (?) house, a clutch of people (indicated in the credits as “mother”, “daughter”, “uncle”, and so on) interact in strange ways with motives that are impossible to divine. An inspector comes along at some point (again, we know his vocation only from the credits) and twirls his mustache a lot. Eventually the gang inside the house takes up arms against the “daughter,” driving her outside. Interrupting the action is a pair of (usually naked) young people having quasi-dance-like interactions of joy, terror, and sundry other feelings.
As I’ve hinted in the preceding paragraphs, while there may be a lot going on in the movie, very little of it makes any sense. It would help if I knew what the directors were trying to say, and a commentary would no doubt be illuminating. That said, this presents a problem: any movie that cannot stand up to unsupervised viewing is of dubious merit. If there isn’t clarity, there needs to be a “vibe” of some sort, or at least an ambience. However, The Kingdom of Shadows is too scattered to have such a vibe, and any ambience is sabotaged by incoherent or careless touches. To support the latter, I give the example of a slow-moving “pursuit” scene through one of the house’s corridors. The turn-of-the-last-century feel is utterly destroyed by a very obvious smoke detector on the wall. Its square plastic frame and glowing electric light immediately crush whatever mood may have been built.
I have no doubt that all those involved poured their hearts and souls into making this movie, so it pains me a little to have to be so down on it. After the sturm und drang of various troubled moans from the young observer, after the not-quite balletic artiness of the “Adam and Eve” vignettes, and after the cranked up symbolism, we’re still left with something that’s a bit amateurish and more than a bit boring. If there were an unhealthy halfway point between How the Sky Will Melt and Begotten, this movie hits it, and hits it hard. ‘s piece—while perhaps incomprehensible—has that dream-like “thing” required for such an exercise in post-narrative film. That “thing” is never found by the directors of The Kingdom of Shadows, which is more the pity.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“…a film that does never try to make perfect sense, instead using impressive, often tableau-like imagery to get its point across… a film like this might not be for everybody, but those with open minds are up for a fascinating journey…”–Mike Haberfelner, [re]Search My Trash (contemoraneous)