A while ago, the beginning of April to be precise, I wrote this blog http://robinbellwriter.blogspot.com/2010/04/good-friday-catch-up.html which informed you my honoured reader about my upcoming blog on extreme films for IN/OUT magazine. Now if you do read my blog there you may have noticed that it never surfaced. That blog was rejected on the grounds that it didn't fit in with the what their perception fo the blog was, and i agree with them, it was a little silly of me to write it, but i got carried away. Luckily i can get carried away on my own blog, so here for your enjoyment is my brief assessment of Extreme Movies.
EXTREME CINEMA- SICK
I have been defeated by a prime example of extreme cinema. You may not have heard the term extreme cinema, I use it to describe something that you wouldn’t usually see and that may have a mental effect, usually with the audience wishing they could un see some of the visual imagery presented to them.
I’m a fan of cinema that pushes boundaries and could list off a fair few. Harmony Korine’s Gummo is a tough watch but I can’t really explain why. Weird would sum it all up. In the horror genre there is often, as there should be, extreme imagery and themes. Recently Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs took me on a journey as it got more and more extreme throughout, a really confronting and challenging film. And there’s always the films of Miike Takashi, his ‘comedy of sorts’ Visitor Q, which mines extreme material and themes throughout, and his more seriously presented violence seen in Ichi the Killer and Audition.
Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible is told in a vertigo inducing manner with its backwards narrative and swirling cameras, but it’s the grubby nightclub violence and extremely long and hard to watch rape scene which lingers in the memory. Rape in cinema has always been a contentious point but when presenting rape I believe it should never be presented in a light hearted manner. Kirby Dick’s documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated presents the argument that violence is presented in American mainstream movies as having no consequences, action films aimed at a family audience show people getting shot, but no blood, it’s all for fun. Surely this is the wrong way to present something horrific, with showing the consequences being the right and moral thing to do.
It was a documentary which defeated me in its extreme nature. Made again by Kirby Dick, it was called Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist. It is the story of Bob Flanagan who punishes his body that he feels he has no control over because of his cystic fibrosis. The film has scene after scene of sadomasochism, one involving a nail and a sensitive part of the male anatomy, but this isn’t what packs the extreme emotional wallop. We follow Bob right up until his death, up close and personal. The camera actually records his final hours. I found it all too much, which suggests this is an extremely well made film about a man who lived to the extremes, and didn’t just watch them from the safety of his living room. Even that proved too much for me. Watch with caution.