Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Witchfinder General (1968)
All the Hollywood formulas, but Made in Britain
This was a pretty lousy film - one cliché after another repeated in the most predictable and boring fashion. It is one of those cases where the poster was better than the film (see the American release poster, where the film was titled The Conquering Worm - with its really great graphics and green/white design - if only things had lived up to the poster!). Aboutthe only thing really going for this was the lush cinematography - there are a lot of really lovely and well-composed shots of the English countryside - and the actors are very easy on the eyes. However, the story itself exceeds banality. I'm usually one who's OK with popular culture, but this was just schlock.
good up to a point
I found the debate over collective values quite compelling, as each person puts forward his/her own position with respect to the others'. How to decide who is in and who is out? The film cycles through a lot of different positions in trying to answer this question. But, ultimately, I found that the ending's satiric answer did not really satisfy the level of debate that one went through before getting to the end of the film. We are left with a simple joke at the expense of the lazy guy who slept through it all, but is that really enough to let us exit from the dramatic situation in which we have become involved? Perhaps in the futile atmosphere of a totalitarian state it seems the only gesture possible, but one is nevertheless left hoping for more.
A Zombie's Zombie-Film
This IS a serious film. If you get past the gay porn and the expectation that this will be some zombie thriller (stumbling blocks that seem to have gotten in the way of many of the reviewers here), then it becomes quite clear that this is NOT primarily a gay politics film, and NOT a thriller.
For me, the relevance of this film comes through with full reference to Lacan and Zizek, who both discuss the different types of desire/drive that motivate the human subject. Most of us are stuck in the subjectivity of desire, pursuing our love objects--and losing them--but always in the grip of the idea that somehow we can have IT. The subject of desire is always motivated by 'lack' and the attempt to fill in the lack; but the subject of drive is motivated by excess and the weariness of always having 'too much'.
In the film, Otto had IT, but as is clear in the scene when he re-meets his old love, the guy really wasn't all that worth it. But this does not lead Otto to attempt to replace his lost love; instead he has the realization that his lost love is infinitely replaceable by any of the clones out there pursuing mindless connections. The scene with his lost love comes late in the film, but it suggests that some structural aspects of it were behind Otto's becoming a zombie in the first place. There is a realization that leads Otto to lose his 'desire' and become a zombie--he lives with the curse that the object of his desire is endlessly repeatable--he is condemned always to having this realization, which essentially makes him neither alive nor dead.
The end of the film suggests that Otto achieves a different kind of jouissance than that merely had by the 'subject of drive'--but it is only a suggestion, and Labruce goes no further with it than that. This is where I think the film falls short: it is an excellent expose of the emptiness of desire and of the flatness of desire's corollary, drive. But the film does not satisfactorily navigate what lies beyond the desire/drive deadlock.
Nevertheless, this film is far beyond most film-schlock of the moment that never even rises to a decent consciousness of the chains of desire. It is a great exploration of the subjectivity of displacement and intimates that that is an aspect of ALL of our understandings, whether we perceive it or not. I agree with the reviewer who calls this an "entirely original work of art."
Heißer Sommer (1968)
Spoilers: I don't think calling this one the "Grease" of East Germany does it justice. In fact, I was not sold on it until halfway through--at first it seemed to me totally unredeemed twaddle, until the scene when the glasses-wearing girl is trying to seduce the sailor boy with a conversation about Brecht and the V-effect (or what we'd call the alienation effect)--this comes hard on the heels of the most BANAL song number in the whole film, the beach guitar ballad sung by the love-struck second male lead with his unjustified emotions and even worse sentimental lyrics and melody--alienation indeed. At that point it all made sense to me that this movie is supposed to be a deadly uncanny parable about empty 'values.' But there is more than that: the girls and boys are from the outset in this strange bind where they are attracted and repulsed by one another at the same time. And the whole mise-en-scene is orchestrated by the near-lesbian lead girl who never gets with a boy, has her hair cropped, leads all the songs criticizing boys for not being 'men', and disapproves most strongly of all of Brit's 'success in the barn': "Love is not a piñata, you're not supposed to throw the pieces everywhere" (or something to that effect, she says). There is evidently a documentary of these socialist musicals called "East Side Story."