Friday, May 20, 2011


(Mario Azzopardi, 1981)
Well, Godard said that the proper review of a movie is another movie, and at times this reads like a feature-length adaptation of the Marshall Delaney writeup that got Cronenberg kicked out of his apartment. (It even borrows Cindy Hinds from The Brood.) The setup is transparent: Azzopardi, an acclaimed Maltese theater director, finds himself making films in Canada at the height of the crassness boom. So he makes a movie about a slumming intellectual who writes horror films, ba-dum-bum. It's a bit of a Frederic Wertham job, that's for sure, it unconditionally posits a cause-effect relationship between on-screen violence and the seduction of the innocents. But it works OK if you don't approach it as an absolute moral judgment, but as a fascinating expression of the frustrations felt by artists working in this economic environment: many of them would really rather have been doing something else, and this fact rarely works in a positive way like it does here. And it also partially redeems another Canuck kiss of death, the movie where absolutely every character is a hateful snot. The redemption isn't in the hazy morality, but in the cinematic sense: the insightful but subtle camera placements, the clever use of montage, and the powerful imagery of disintegration at the end. Also, you can't accuse it of being humorless when the first diagetic film clip we see is of a murderous snowblower manipulated by a psychic sheep! If it weren't so flawed, it probably wouldn't be as interesting.

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