CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Tragedy of Macbeth a towering avant-garde performance piece

he awe striking visual element from Bruno Delbonnel leans into the surrealism of Joel’s vision for this adaption of Macbeth. There’s an encroaching darkness in the atmosphere, spurred on by the incredible performances and harrowing sense of dread in the black. The entire cast delivers the source material to unbelievable, discerning highs.  … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Tragedy of Macbeth a towering avant-garde performance piece

CERIFIED WIERD: Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy” a subservient mess

The Duke of Burgundy is Peter Strickland playing around with the form and narrative. It’s a sensual, vitriol battle of subservience and visually disturbed with harsh darkness. However, the film is entirely unengaging on a narrative level. After the dynamic between the two women is established, the mystery is lost and the film relies on the dark avant-garde visual element to carry the story. Strickland has moments of unsettling atmosphere, but it mostly felt underwhelming and lacking substance. … More CERIFIED WIERD: Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy” a subservient mess

CERTIFIED WEIRD: Hiroshi Teshigahara’s “Pitfall” a surreal fight for workers rights

Pitfall remains in between life and death, not fully existing in reality but not fading away into the tether. It’s a film with grand themes of abused labor in a villainous, soulless industry, while playing in the avant-garde of the afterlife. Director Hiroshi Teshigahara shows his personality in the surrealism and tells the majority of this story within this mood but keeping the narrative grounded in real world struggle. In his first collaboration with legendary novelist Kobo Abe, Pitfall is a film that toils with utter existentialism, and unfair and unjust treatment of human beings but then goes even further. It explores a culture of overworking, lack of freedom if one chooses to go against their company, and the complete alienation of the human condition. … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: Hiroshi Teshigahara’s “Pitfall” a surreal fight for workers rights

CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Humans is a self-involved look at the holidays

The Humans is supposed to be a multifaceted look at families during the holidays, but transforms into an deeply interpersonal look at individual’s uninvolved in each other’s lives with their own fucked up set of problems. Adapted from a stage play written by director Stephen Karam, the stagey elements of the film allow the narrative to jump from micro story to the next, focusing on characters in different parts of this dilapidated Manhattan apartment. It splashes in some surreal with the Lol Crowley cinematography, mainly the blocking and framing – capturing these characters in bizarre states that aren’t normal. The sprinkled on horror elements give the direction an edge, and the performances lean into the entropy … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: The Humans is a self-involved look at the holidays

They Call Me Trinity (1970) is Enzo Barboni’s Profoundly Lazy Spaghetti Western

It’s two wandering criminals defending a separate group of cattle farming Mormons against greedy rustlers. Using religion as a story beat, the script slightly dips into pacifism and hilariously touches on Mormons’ polygamy that conveniently allows Trinity to get two women instead of one.
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Iranian New Wave sensation Downpour (1972) is an incisive social critique

Downpour is our predilection for scandal surfacing in destructive and ignorant ways. Behram Beyzai’s vision for Hekmati’s (Parvis Fannizadeh) character was that of a humble servant of the community, within an innate sense of goodness, yet he still gets exposed inside of a communal lie meant to suppress an outsider’s influence. It’s a daring piece of filmmaking, with a provocative visual element, conveying deep seeded desire that can’t be expressed in words. It’s a poetic script, even if mired in malicious rumors … More Iranian New Wave sensation Downpour (1972) is an incisive social critique

CERTIFIED WEIRD: Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó (1996) is a masterpiece

The seven-hour myopic, nihilistic, and dystopian Hungarian masterpiece from Béla Tarr, Sátántangó, captures a moment in time closer to the actual reality of the situation better than almost any other film in existence. It’s painfully long and exhausting, by design, and doesn’t take any creative liberties off the table. It’s a film with so much pessimism embedded into its code that any other line of thought is almost impermissible considering the circumstance and lack of authority. The shared apathy of the characters towards themselves, others, and their dire circumstance is a danger to all and Tarr explores this utter disconnect from the reality, a pseudo-reality showing people for what they are, not idealizing a piece of this story. It’s disheartening, cold in the depiction, constantly raining that never ceases to stop, creating an atmosphere of distrust and egocentricity that poison’s the town. It’s an impossibly cruel seven-hour watch and hard to imagine the film conceptually, but is the one film, outside of a similar project in terms of length and story structure, Masaki Kobayashi’s 9-hour masterpiece The Human Condition, that authentically conveys what it means to be human and the human disposition. It’s a towering achievement in storytelling and I’m incredibly happy art like this exist in the world. … More CERTIFIED WEIRD: Béla Tarr’s Sátántangó (1996) is a masterpiece

The Slow Storytelling of Bela Tarr’s Sátántangó and the nihilistic outlook

The establishing shot has become a mainstay of Tarr’s filmography. A sort of unexpressed realism, where he’s unafraid to show the journey, in its entirety, from one point to the next. He won’t cut away from the scene until the subject has safely reached their desired location. It’s not a reprieve for the audience or the filmmaker, it’s simply letting the action play out as it happened. At times, this type of slow-moving transition has thematic and narrative significance, but other times it’s meant solely to have the audience suffer alongside the character for extended stretches of time. … More The Slow Storytelling of Bela Tarr’s Sátántangó and the nihilistic outlook

Happy Birthday Martin Scorsese: ranking his weirdest films

Martin Scrosese isn’t known for the avant-garde. He certainly takes ideas from those directors and creatives and incorporates some into his films, but he works within the conventions of modern film and doesn’t deviate too far. That said, Scorsese is an unfettered weird person with a deeply contemplative disposition that sees past archetypes and explores people at their core. This idealistic view of humanity leads him to bizarre discoveries in his work
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