Tag Archives: Theology

KAPSULO: INCUBUS (1966)

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REĝISORIS: Leslie Stevens

RAKONTO: William Shatner, Allyson Ames

INTRIGO: Marc resaniĝas post militvundo kiam li estas tentita fare de Kia la succubus, kiu venkiĝas al siaj sanaj ĉarmoj post alvokado de la Incubus por korupti sian spiriton.

KOMENTOJ: Tri elementoj konspiras por ke Incubus ne finiĝu sur la peceto de B-filmo-arta teruro. La unua estas la strangaj evoluoj, kiuj afliktis membrojn de la produktado post ĝia eldono. La mortoj de aktoroj, eksgeedziĝoj, kaj la malapero de ĉiuj konataj presaĵoj kaŭzis certan mistikon ĉirkaŭ la filmo. La dua estas la ĉeesto de ankoraŭ ne tre granda William Shatner, kiu donas al la mondo unu el siaj malmultaj malmodestaj agadoj kiel Marc, soldato (?) Resaniĝanta de siaj vundoj en katedralo situanta ĉe mita puto. La tria estas la lingvo, en kiu ĝi estis prezentita. Esperanto? Pli kiel Yesperanto!

Mokante flanken, estas malfacile veki ian entuziasmon por ĉi tiu eta projekto. La rakonto havas neniun emocian (aŭ spiritan aŭ filozofian) efikon, cirkonstancon tute ne helpatan de la fakto, ke la ago, tia, kia estas, estas reduktita al iutaga valoro de iom kripta ago. Marc (William Shatner), sana viro, laŭ ni, vivas sur insulo kun sia fratino en dometo proksime al kaj kapelo kaj puto, kiu enhavas junajn akvojn. Li resaniĝas post iu vundo, kiel ilustris lia frua uzo de promenbastono. Ĉi tiu insulo enhavas gaglon da sukuboj, kiuj pasigas multan tempon kolektante la koruptitajn animojn de la vantaj kaj malbonaj specoj, kiuj estas allogataj de la legendaj akvoj de la puto. Unu sukubo, senmarka-1960a-blonda Kia (Allyson Ames) avidas la defion kapti puran animon por Satano, por pli bone pliigi siajn ŝancojn esti promociita al demono. Kio rezultas estas ventego delogo kaj iuj sakrosanktaj, paranormalaj nuduloj.

Manpleno da strangaj tuŝoj elstaras – la elemento “Esperanto” facile nesciebla kiel nur eŭrop-sonanta lambastono. Marc pasigas iom de la filmo portante iom ŝikan jakon, sed neniam vidiĝas meti siajn brakojn tra ĝiajn manikojn. Estas hazarda suneklipso, kiu konfuzas iujn brutojn kaj blindigas la fratinon de Marc. Kaj la mistera titulara ento ŝajnas esti kaj la mastro kaj servisto de la trupo de demonetoj, aperante kiel iu ulo kun nigraj pantalonoj kaj nigra butonumita ĉemizo. (Tio estas, ĝis kiam Kia faras malklare krucforman geston, kiu malkaŝas lian veran formon de amasa kapra aĵo.)

Incubus mallongas por plenlonga filmo, sed tio, kio mankas al ĝi dum reala tempo, kompensas ĝin en teda. Pafoj de marbordaj vagadoj, ridinde nesafektaj kampaj serĉadoj, kaj … pli da promenado ĉiuj remburas la filmon kun preskaŭ nenio interesa eltondado, kaj kia ajn tono aŭ etoso, kiuj povus esti establitaj alie kompromititaj per la stiltita liverado de stiltlingvo. Verŝajne estas impresa (kaj eble Continue reading KAPSULO: INCUBUS (1966)

FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2021: MAD GOD

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DIRECTED BY: Phil Tippett

FEATURING: Niketa Roman,

PLOT: An explorer descends into the depths with the mission to destroy God.

WHY IT MIGHT JOIN THE APOCRYPHA: Drawing inspiration from Ray Harryhausen and the Brothers Quay, as well as siphoning the theological-cinematic marrow of E. Elias Merhige, Phil Tippett has created a stop-motion nightmare of such scale and unrelenting viciousness that it turns the corner into the darkly poetic.

COMMENTS: Words nearly fail me. I could go on at length about Mad God‘s technical wizardry and the staggering horror of  its vision. The soundscape is calculated for maximum unpleasantness. The entities populating the Hellish layers are the nastiest collection of putrescent malevolence this side of the imagination. Whatever message there may be here is of the utmost nihilistic hideousness. Myriad paragraphs could be spun going over all the elements Phil Tippett has created for this trial of a film, but mere text cannot convey the goings-on in Mad God. I’ve seen torture porn; this movie is nothing short of torment porn.

Babel is destroyed, and what follows is a vision of mankind, had he defied the warnings of Leviticus 26: 27-33. Man survives, as he must and as he can. An explorer in a capsule descends past a skyscraper guarded by flak cannons. He is armored and equipped with a map and a briefcase. And he witnesses Hell on Earth as he travels, passing defecating guardian beasts. Wispy humanoids are stamped in a press and sent off to labor on a giant apparatus, burnt to crisps, crushed under steam-rollers, and splattered by the dark monoliths they have been tasked to create. Down and further down continues the explorer, map disintegrating, briefcase clutched in hand. Inside is a bomb, and with it the hope of destroying this God and what he has wrought. He reaches the bottom, on which rest innumerable heaps of other briefcases. And he sets the timer…

It may be best for me to describe the few moments of comparative ease on display. A doll-like human woman passes her time masturbating; a nurse has the luxury of a pillow to lay upon; and somewhere in God’s alchemical laboratory there exists a carefree group of DayGlo beings who sup daintily on maggots. And that is all I can think of. Of course, each instance has caveats: the doll-like woman is imprisoned; the nurse must facilitate a ghastly human-emptying surgery for each delivery of an ungainly foetus to be handed unto God; and the DayGlo cavorters are intermittently snatched up and eaten by beasts for the alchemist’s amusement.

There is a timelessness to Mad God, explained not just by its lack of dialogue and grandness of the vision. This project took Tippett thirty-three years to complete. Every crushed human, every organ tossed idly aside, and every burst of goo and shit—it all leads to a dispiriting rejoinder to 2001: A Space Odyssey. When God is fed the dust of the infant, he spews forth black monoliths into the cosmos, infecting neighboring worlds. The abominations on display here are beyond most people’s utterance, and you may be tempted to flee, but Mad God ends on an odd note that ever-so-slightly tempers the despair: another explorer, with another briefcase, is sent down for another attempt.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“Tippett’s odyssey, equally compelling and off-putting, enmeshes the viewer in a maximalist excess not too formally different from the likes of Flying Lotus’ trippily mutated Kuso, abetting its dream logic with lurid visions of the scatological and profane.”–Morris Yang, In Review Online (festival screening)

REQUIEM FOR THE RELENTLESS FATHERS (2012): FILM & DIRECTOR’S STATMENT

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:

Requiem For The Relentless Fathers (2012) is a short film I made for theology graduate school. “First and Second Samuel” was a class taught by Dr. Marti Steussy. Among Steussy’s assignments was an artistic presentation from the text.

Embedded theology oversimplifies the Samuel narrative: Samuel, the Judge of Israel, is the protagonist. Saul, the first King, disobeys God, and is therefore the antagonist. God consequently replaces Saul with the hero David, whom God loves. Even as a child I had issues with that elementary assessment. Regardless of what my Sunday school teachers taught, I found myself sympathizing with the antagonist. Perhaps it is in my nature. After all, I never could manage to find sympathy for any of the characters in Richard Wagner’s symbolist opera “Parsifal” except the alleged villain Klingsor. Still, having had a class with Dr. Steussy previously, I rightly concluded that she would supply fresh insight into the narrative.

Dr. Steussy discarded tradition. She inspired us to go directly and honestly to the text without preconceived notions. After knocking the dust off my Bible, I did exactly that. At the end of the semester a few fellow students, upon seeing the film, pointed out that they would not have been open to my interpretation if they had seen it at the beginning of the semester.

Since Requiem is a short, many details are naturally left out. The film is what the title says: It is a requiem for three complex, relentless fathers in an authentically strange Biblical narrative. Samuel and Saul are the primary focus. However, we tried to depict even the secondary character of David as embodying more than meets the eye in his initial introduction. (Perhaps someday, we will be able to do a follow-up film of the Davidic character). The historicity of Samuel was not our concern, which is why we placed it in a relatively contemporary setting.

Dr. Steussy proposed a question—“Why is it important how we judge Saul?”—followed by an answer—“It is important because it reflects how we are apt to judge one other.” Of equal importance is an honest approach to the text as an un-hallowed narrative, stripped of our over-familiarity. I found the story of Saul to be a fresh and surprising chronicle; often bizarre, adverse, and morally questionable.

The cast includes  as Samuel/God, myself as Saul, Robert Webster as David, Jordan Wheatley as Michal, Nate Saylor as Jonathan,  as the woman of Endor, and Jennifer Ring as the Evil Spirit of God. Director of photography: Robin Panet. Assistant Directors: Robbin Panet and James Mannan. Sets: John Claeyse. Music courtesy of Tahra Records. The script was inspired by 1 Samuel and the Samuel commentaries of Dr. Marti Steussy and Dr. David M. Gunn.

Along with a number of other collaborative short films (including 9), Requiem For The Relentless Fathers will be available on 366 Weird Movies DVD label in late 2014.