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This is an excellent documentary.... Not having been introduced to Mojica's films previously, this served as a great introduction to the film culture of Brazil and Mojica's individually strange world and world-view. The interviews are spectacular... I was impressed with the filmmakers' ability to get the subjects (many of Mojica's collaborators, friends, and actors) to speak candidly and with such detail regarding his work. There are some very humorous interviews and anecdotes.... I found myself laughing out loud in many spots. The filmmakers also did an _excellent_ job of assembling old footage (the shots of Mojica conducting an acting seminar are simply hilarious), stills, tv footage, etc. A very thorough job... whether you are a fan of Mojica or not, if you are a fan of film, and in particular low-budget filmmaking or horror films, I believe that you will find this documentary to be very interesting.
The films of Jose Mojica Marins hold a certain fascination for me.
Despite the fact they're impoverished and raw, they are always
unnerving. This is because Marins knows how to capture the unrelenting
terror of a really memorable nightmare. He creates an alien and surreal
world where evil and the supernatural always triumphs. He is also an
interesting avant-garde filmmaker. He is capable of creating moments of
dreamlike surrealism worthy of Bunuel. Despite the low budgets he was
forced to work with, Marins persevered and got his nasty little films
made. He is eccentric and unlike any other filmmaker out there. Also,
his films seem to be decidedly free of overt American or European
influence, unlike many other films from South America. Also, his films
are deeply personal and often include nihilistic philosophy on life and
Because I have such an admiration for Marins, I was interested in seeing this documentary from the moment I read about it. When I was finally able to track down a copy, I was not disappointed. Seeing clips from films Marins made other than the Coffin Joe trilogy was refreshing and really made me want to seek these out. Also, the documentary provides background on Marins and some of his world views. As many have noted, this guy seems to be a follower of Nietschze. Like Ed Wood, his later day descent into pornography is depressing. The recounts towards the end are pretty depraved. Overall, anyone who is familiar with the films of Marins are advised to check this out. Hopefully it'll be available easily somehow shortly. (7/10)
José Mojica Marins is certainly a one off. His ultra-low-budget films
are certainly an uneven selection but they do have a certain vision.
That vision is pretty much nasty, surreal and nightmarish; but
interestingly filtered through a Brazilian sensibility. There really is
no equivalent horror film-maker in South America, far less Brazil. His
influences have ensured that his oeuvre is a very distinctive one and
for this reason they can be fascinating. He was most famous for the
Coffin Joe films but he made many others, all in the same general
ball-park. He is the definition of the term 'an acquired taste'; I
personally like some of his movies and don't like others.
This documentary is therefore deserved for such a distinctive character. I wouldn't say it necessarily makes his films seem any better. It was most interesting as a look at the man, rather than his output. He definitely seems to be a genuinely strange individual. He operated in the fringes of the film-world the whole time and never really made any money. Considering the bizarre nature of his movies this isn't necessarily a surprise. Sadly he ended up descending into pornography and even bestiality. There is an anecdote about this which is pretty grotesque, although not in a good way. Much better is stories of his studio which genuinely seems to have been a place of horror seeing as it was populated with spiders and snakes that seemed to often run freely. His actors and crew were pretty terrified a lot of the time. But my favourite moment was the stories about the mysterious number of people who died while working for him he mentioned a guy who he pronounced would die very soon for a laugh and the poor bloke was killed that afternoon! It details like these latter anecdotes that are the best thing about this.
Coffin Joe: The Strange World of Jose Mojica Marins (2001)
*** (out of 4)
Pretty good, if too short, look at the life and career of Brazilian filmmaker Jose Mojica Marins who is best known for his Coffin Joe character. This documentary shows us some of the places Marins shot his films as well as interviews the director about his battle with censors in Brazil and how he was unable to become a rich man. The film briefly goes into discussion on his porn films from the 80s and we also get to learn a little about his regained fame in America and Europe. Since this documentary was shot somewhere between 1999 and 2000 there's no mention of the latest Coffin Joe film that was released in 2008 so obviously this thing could be updated but overall this is a pretty good look at the director's career. We get to hear from the man himself but I had a hard time knowing whether he really is as crazy as everyone says or if he was just saying things to make himself live up to his reputation. There's a rather bizarre sequence where he talks about all the people who have died while working for him and we even get some stuff about one of his porn films that became very famous because of a dog having sex with a human actress. We also get to hear him explain why he never got rich and why he's still looked at as a clown in Brazil. For the most part the documentary gives us a pretty good idea of the director and how he made his films with the majority of the running time taking a look at the Coffin Joe series. We also get to learn about AWAKENING OF THE BEAST and why it was banned in Brazil for nearly two decades. We also get to see the original letter from the censors and hear about everything they wanted cut out. The film runs just around 65-minutes so there's not enough detail to make this fully rewarding but so far it's the best thing we've got.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With this year appearing to be the end of my 3 year long adventure of
watching 1 or 2 of Anchor Bay's Coffin Joe DVD boxset for the IMDb's
Horror board's October Challenge,I decided to start the Halloween
season off a little bit early,by taking a look at the only non Horror
title in the set.
Outline of the documentary:
Opening with a rather strange looking man sitting down and reading a newspaper,the film makers reveal the man to be a film maker called Jose Mojica Marins,who is a movie auteur that created Brazilian cinema's first ever Horror movie mega-star:Coffin Joe (played in every title by Marins.)The film makers show how Marins went from doing ultra low-budget Gothic Horror's which barely got any attention in Brazil,to creating a movie, (with every penny that he had)which angered the then military dictatorship so much,that it was locked away for 20 years.
View on the film:
Whilst the Anchor Bay boxset sadly does contain any DVD extras,directors Andre Barcinski and Ivan Finotti take the film back to Marins pre-Coffin Joe days by including a number of exciting clips from Marins early filming days, (which his mum also talks about in the movie)which gives a glimpse of the distinctive Gothic Horror style that Marins was creating.
Along with the thrilling archive footage,Barcinski and Finotti include an interview with Marins at the centre,who despite appearing to be disappointed about the direction that his work had gone in, (with Marins making Adult movies in order to make enough money to feed his family,before the return of a full-on Coffin Joe in the 2000's)Marins still delivers an extremely lively interview,with a story that Marins tells about his crew and actresses being 'cursed' coming from a pitch black Comedy punchline,which helps the movie to show that Marins is far from ready to be buried in his creation's coffin.
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