Jul 1, 2019

The Day of the Locust

While on a recent much-needed and long-awaited vacation where I did very little of anything aside from watching a shitload of films, I found myself almost ritualistically devouring an eclectic plethora of (mostly great) ranging from Jan Troell’s epic diptych The Emigrants (1971) and The New Land (1972) to John Schlesinger’s The Day of the Locust (1975). While these particular films might seem like a curious combo as they share very little in common in both the aesthetic and thematic sense, they really highlighted for me what I both love and hate about the United States; or, the real organic settler Euro-America that created this nation and the phony Hebraic Hollywood anti-America that colonized the minds of its creators. While Troell’s singularly epic diptych—two masterful films that Terrence Malick seems to have spent his entire career attempting to model his own cinematic works after—provides an exceedingly earthly and sometimes realist yet nonetheless transcendental depiction of the great struggle involved with enterprising Europeans becoming (true) Americans after courageously abandoning their homelands and pretty much everything else they knew, Schlesinger’s film provides, in many ways, the complete opposite experience as an oftentimes gorgeously grotesque and absurdist portrait of the phony culture-distorting America where phony shallow cinematic dreams are dubiously conjured and hopelessly forsaken people and their oftentimes devastatingly deluded dreams go to die a particularly pathetic death. Not surprisingly, the films also had considerably different receptions among critics, which is why I feel the need to defend the much maligned Schlesinger feature, which I would argue is the ‘British’ auteur’s true magnum opus and greatest and most ambitious artistic achievement, especially considering its current questionable reputation compared to much inferior and, in turn, absurdly overrated films (e.g. MASH (1970), Harold and Maude (1970)) from the same so-called ‘New Hollywood’ era.  Indeed, the film is a strange reminder that, on very rare occasion, Hollywood was curiously involved in the production of subversive cinematic art that metaphysically eviscerates everything that Tinseltown represents.

 Based on the 1939 novel of the same name by NYC-bred Ashkenazi writer Nathanael West—a Hollywood insider of sorts that worked as a screenwriter on films like John Farrow's Five Came Back (1939) starring Chester Morris and Lucille Ball—The Day of the Locust is a largely plot-less and deceptively dream-like (anti)odyssey of oftentimes aberrant and even grotesque spectacle that dares to ruthlessly demolish the conspicuously counterfeit kosher Hollywood version of the so-called ‘American Dream.’ In that sense, it is hard to imagine that David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001) would exist without Schlesinger’s sort of ‘Tinseltown Gothic,’ which oftentimes feels like the brooding baroque cinematic equivalent to Kenneth Anger’s gossip classic Hollywood Babylon (1959), albeit focusing on the everyday misfortunes of Hollywood’s failed nobodies instead of the tragic ends of opium-addled superstars and coveted closet-queens. Indeed, featuring strange references from films ranging from Robert J. Flaherty’s classic silent (pseudo)anthropological doc Nanook of the North (1922) to Josef von Sternberg’s classic Marlene Dietrich vehicle Blonde Venus (1932) and a somewhat fitting cameo from Hebraic horror huckster William Castle as a dictatorial studio director that literally directs his crew into disaster, The Day of the Locust is an ideally idiosyncratic piece of cinephilia for cinephiles that hate Hollywood or, at least, the phony hokey Hollywood that acts as a mask for the festering moral rot and decay that is barely hidden beneath. Of course, the best films about Hollywood tend to touch on this subject, including works ranging from classics like Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950) to more obscure (and underrated) works like John Byrum’s X-rated Golden Age era celluloid grotesquerie Inserts (1975) to the Coen Brothers cult classic Barton Fink (1991), but The Day of the Locust arguably transcends all of these films in terms of sheer unending eccentricity, mirthful misanthropy, and slow-burning necrotic spirit. 

 While Schlesinger—a gay British Jew that is surely best remembered today for his Academy Award-winning gay-for-pay counterculture nightmare Midnight Cowboy (1969)—can hardly be described as ‘right wing’ or ‘conservative’ in any sort of sense, he was fairly aesthetically apolitical as demonstrated by his controversial collaborations with Nazi composer Herbert von Karajan and surprisingly vocal appreciation for Leni Riefenstahl’s films, including Triumph of the Will (1935). Undoubtedly, many of the auteur’s films can certainly be described as ‘red-pilled’ by today's decidedly degenerate standards, which probably has more to do with Schlesinger's subversive spirit as an artist than any sort of serious political allegiances. Indeed, Darling (1965) starring Julie Christie demonstrates the great perils of being a soulless careerist whore and how a misguided lust for fame and fortune can quickly turn a beauteous young debutante into a lonely and unlovable monster that treats an abortion like a hair-cut.  In Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Christie reprises the young dumb (yet delectable) know-it-all-bitch routine and portrays a so-called ‘independent women’ that thrives on hypocrisy and narcissism, makes all the wrong decisions, deceitfully uses men to run her farm and ultimately engages in petty behavior that leads to the destruction of the lives of two of three suitors that want to marry her (and, rather fittingly, she is ultimately stuck with a boorish man that she liked least of the three). In Marathon Man (1976), the Hebraic hero is arguably less likeable than the evil elderly Nazi doctor trying to kill him.  Also, Schlesinger's most famous film Midnight Cowboy can hardly be described as featuring a positive portrayal of poofters or Warholian art fags and the filmmaker himself even once described it as being “viewed as somewhat antigay.” In Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), a middle-aged gay Jewish doctor and bitchy shiksa spinster seem to thinking have an affair with the same young (and seemingly sociopathic) quasi-hustler acts as an apt substitution for marriage and children, thereupon underscoring the biting soullessness of their sad lives.

While Schlesinger spent much of the later part of his career directing largely forgettable hack work, including the shockingly banal supernatural horror flick The Believers (1987) and the yawn-driven yuppie pseudo-psychological thriller Pacific Heights (1990), it is clear from his greatest films that he was no petty propagandist and that he had the rare ability to embrace the ugliness of humanity without succumbing to any sort of shallow sermonizing, as if the auteur was a mere passive observer among his own idiosyncratic cinematic creations. In The Day of the Locust, Schlesinger exposes the viewer to an eclectic collection of eccentrics, lecherous losers, (self)destructive drunks, lost souls, and odiously opportunistic whores, yet one never gets the feeling that Schlesinger has any unkind feelings towards these mostly forsaken individuals. At the same time, it is probably the only film where one almost feels a deep sense of therapeutic joy when kid is stomped to death in a scenario that ultimately unleashes a sort of Hollywoodland holocaust.  Needlessly to say, this is no feel-good-film, yet it somehow maintain an unexpected degree of rapture and unconventional humanistic intrigue, which are undoubtedly some of Schlesinger's greatest attributes as a filmmaker.

 Notably, Schlesinger’s mischling journalist nephew Ian Buruma once described The Day of the Locust as, “Perhaps John’s darkest picture—made at the happiest time of his life—it failed to win a major award.”  In other words, aside from being his most artistically ambitious film, it is also his most absurdly neglected and misunderstood.  As Schlesinger remarked to Buruma himself, “MIDNIGHT COWBOY, SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY, and THE DAY OF THE LOCUST were all made cheek by jowl. This was probably the moment I felt most liberated, when I felt I could make films on these sort of subjects. Perhaps I’ve never reached that point since.” Beyond its subversive subject matter, the film was also a long marinating passion project that Schlesinger would have to wait many years to make until he acquired the commercial and critical success that came with Midnight Cowboy and even then he faced many roadblocks from the studio and producers, which makes perfect sense considering the film depicts Hollywood as a schlocky Sodom run by virtual slave-driving sociopaths and overflowing with alcohol-addled whores that will do virtually anything just to get even the least prestigious of barely-paid positions on a seedy studio lot. In short, Schlesinger savagely yet exceedingly elegantly demolishes the legendary (plastic) glamour and shallow intrigue of unholywood while at the same time sardonically assaulting the very same sickening system that the film was made within. Indeed, even Robert Evans—the legendary (and then-relatively-young) Hollywood film producer and studio executive that completely revitalized the studio system during the American New Wave era with classic works like Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Godfather (1972), and Chinatown (1974)—was completely against the film, or as Schlesinger explained himself, “Robert Evans—who ran Paramount—absolutely hated the idea of THE DAY OF THE LOCUST and said so forcibly and did anything that he could to prevent the film being made […] Essentially Bob Evans is a Hollywood man […] I think he just didn’t like what the film stood for. People in the industry didn’t like the story; they didn’t like the rather downbeat, critical attitude of West’s novel. Evans also didn’t think it was commercial, which, of course, it wasn’t.” Luckily, Schlesinger had the kosher clout to have his way and create what is arguably the biggest and most epic ‘anti-Hollywood Hollywood’ film ever and the auteur was even such a nice guy that he subsequently collaborated with Evans on the surprisingly subversive ‘Jewish thriller’ Marathon Man despite the studio executive's poor treatment of his dream film. 

While he virtually disappears for a good portion of the film, ostensibly straight-laced WASP Tod Hackett (William Atherton)—an ivy league boy that looks like he was descended from America’s most thoroughbred Anglo-Saxon stock—is certainly the lead protagonist of the film and he soon discovers after moving into a tiny apartment with a literal ‘hole in the wall’ at a crusty complex called San Bernardino Arms in Hollywood that the town is completely morally bankrupt at all levels, as it takes a certain razor sharp unscrupulousness to not only merely compete, but especially to get ahead. Luckily for him, Hackett—a man whose name hints that he is a ‘dead hack’ of sorts—immediately becomes hopelessly infatuated with an exceedingly empty cocktease of the platinum peroside blonde philistine sort named Faye Greener (Karen Black) after encountering her living at the same apartment complex with her father and he soon finds it easy to assimilate to the amorality of his rather pathetic excess-ridden environment. Aside from being willing to do virtually anything to get into Faye’s panties, which seems to be protected by an invisible chastity belt, Hackett also discovers that he must lose his soul if he wants to establish a successful career as a pre-production artist at Paramount Studios where a hyper-cynical booze-and-porn-loving screenwriter named Claude Estee (Richard A. Dysart) takes him under his wing as a sort of protégé of mindless hedonistic perversity that entails dumb debauched parties involving primitive S&M blue movies and alcohol-driven cock fights, among other things. In a scenario that seems to have been taken from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Hackett begins working on a large Otto Dix-esque painting on his earthquake-worn wall that not only unmasks the true demonic essence of Hollywood as if the protagonist has special They Live-like glasses, but also foreshadows an apocalyptic scenario at the very end of the film.  Indeed, while Hackett comes to Hollywood to perform frivolous hack work for insipid popcorn pictures, the malignant spiritual moribundity, innate immorality, and all-encompassing soullessness begins impact that artist deeply and his art soon begins to resemble something that might be created by the bastard son of Edvard Munch and Leonor Fini.

 Despite the fact that Faye is a fiercely fake and frigid bitch that impulsively says stupid shit like, “I hate people with thin lips. People with thin lips are mean. That’s true. I read that Somewhere,” and refuses to give up even the most minuscule crumb of poontang because she is strategically saving her clearly over-appraised virginity for the ideal rich and handsome man that she absurdly thinks she has the potential to marry despite not being much more than a poor man's lobotomized Marilyn Monroe, Hackett accepts being friend-zoned because he is so hopelessly horny for her ice-cold-cunt that he is willing to wait for a day that ultimately never cums. While Faye makes it known to everyone that he thinks she is hot shit, her fairly banal blonde Barbie doll good looks are the sole thing she has going for her, as she is literally the bastard brood of a whore that abandoned her for a “magician bastard” and a washed-up dipsomaniacal ex-vaudeville performer turned failed snake oil (or ‘Miracle Solvent’) salesman named Harry Greener (Burgess Meredith). In a sane world, Faye would gladly accept Hackett as her male suitor as he is almost in every way her superior, including arguably looks, but she is deluded by big dreams of Hollywood stardom due to getting minor roles as extras in c-grade movies and—as she confesses to the protagonist—he surely is not her type.

Aside from planning to marry a rich dude that has the capacity bloat both her ego and bank account, Faye seems to take after her estranged whore mother in terms of being naturally sexually attracted to low-status savages as demonstrated by the fact she eventually self-destructively fucks a superlatively swarthy Mexican cockfighter that lives in a garage. When Hackett declares his love to her not long after meeting her, Faye—the Hollywood hypergamic harpy par excellence—rather bluntly reveals her self-satisfied shallowness and stereotypical feminine propensity towards self-deception by responding, “Don’t make me hurt you. You’re very kind and clever, but I could only let a really rich man love me. I could only love someone criminally handsome. Please try to understand.”  As a sort of Dr. Jekyll/ Ms. Hyde grotesque caricature of the virgin-whore archetype(s) as clearly irreparably despoiled by a lifetime of Hollywood propaganda starring hunky heartthrobs like Cary Grant, Faye epitomizes virtually everything that is insufferable about modern womankind, which is quite fitting since Hollywood—a narcotizing delusion factory that produces romantic twaddle that tricks stupid chicks into fantasizing magical imaginary men and luxurious lifestyles that they will never be able to obtain—is largely responsible for women having such preposterously high expectations despite very rarely having anything to bring to the table aside from the purely physical. To Hackett’s credit, he is treated relatively kindly by Faye, especially compared to a poor sapless sap named Homer Simpson (Donald Sutherland) that eventually find himself caught in her web of contrived femininity and counterfeit glamour. 

 While Faye seems to genuinely appreciate Hackett’s friendship, even after he attempts to rape her while screaming that she is a “bitch” after she rejects his rather aggressive sexual advances, she only displays visceral hatred and resentment towards poor hapless homeboy Homer. Indeed, after being forced to sell her virginity to some old fart to pay for her father's funeral when he unexpectedly dies, Faye eventually sets up a ‘business relationship’ with Homer that seems to be totally sexless and simply involves the heroine living in his house as a sort of less than subservient pseudo-wife that refuses to even make him dinner (in fact, mirthful masochist Homer ultimately becomes the servant). Naturally, Faye almost immediately begins rather flagrantly cuckolding Homer, as she not only has her fake cowboy friend and his Mexican pal move into his home, but she also even fucks the latter. Clearly disgusted by Homer’s weakness and incapacity to ‘assert’ himself with a woman, Faye seems to derive sadistic glee from psychologically torturing the poor cowardly cuck, so naturally it is only a matter of time before he completely snaps.  Unfortunately for him and his not-all-that-innocent victim, Homer, like many people that completely crack-up, loses his shit at the wrong place and wrong time in what ultimately proves to be a sort of burst of apocalyptic fury.

Needless to say, it is only fitting that Homer is a devout Jesus freak of sorts, as it underlines the capacity of Hollywood to erode anyone’s soul, not matter how deeply religious and/or terminally sexually repressed. Of course, as someone that goes to a phony spiritually vacant proto-megachurch with an electric crucifix with the words “Give To Jesus” written across it that more resembles a vaudeville show than a serious house of worship, Homer—an extremely fearful and nervous autist of sorts that seems to be perennially internally wounded as a result of a lengthy childhood illness—is not exactly the most mentally sharp of men despite having a little bit of wealth and a nice house due to his accountant background. As someone that clearly cannot support herself, Faye only reluctantly decides to shack up with Homer after her father dies and she is left without a home, though, to her credit, she does demonstrate an unexpected degree of selfless sacrifice when she sells her much-prized virginal puss to pay for her papa’s funeral. Indeed, instead of becoming a big Hollywood starlet, Faye is forced to settle for being what she has clearly always secretly suspected she was—a cheap unlovable whore. As for Hackett, Faye’s moral deterioration does not deter his desire to defile her and he even preposterously rationalizes her cash-for-gash deflowering by stating to a drunken ambiguously Hebraic midget, “She waited till the old guy was dead. I’ll give her that much.”  Rather pathetically, even after Faye loses his virginity, Hackett still fails to seal the carnal deal.

 Considering that Faye predictably dedicates her life to increasingly ruthlessly mocking and emasculating him after moving into his home, it is only a matter of time before Homer—a terribly nervous Nellie that has absolutely nil outlet for his seemingly perpetual internal misery and misfortune—completely explodes, which ultimately acts as a catalyst to the film’s savagely surreal climax that quite fittingly takes place at a big movie premiere. Notably, the ending is somewhat foreshadowed in an unforgettable scene that would probably give John Landis—a morally dubious director that is certainly no stranger to catastrophic movie set mishaps—cold chills where a huge Battle of Waterloo battlefield set directed by William Castle completely collapses during filming and injures tons of actors and extras portraying soldiers. Despite being a fairly cold and stoic man that rarely expresses emotion aside from when less than suavely attempting to fuck Faye, Hackett, who created sketches that acted as virtual blueprints for the set pieces, is somewhat shocked by the senseless tragedy, which he immediately realizes is the direct result of both the studio’s negligence and shameless apathy towards human life. When Hackett attempts to warn the studio head about how the accident was easily avoidable and the direct result of senseless negligence, he is treated to a haircut and shoeshine from a jolly old negro and is later told by his screenwriter friend Claude that it “wouldn’t have made a difference” if people had actually died (while apathetic toward human life, Claude does get a thrill from drunken cock fights with Hebraic midgets and Mexicans). Naturally, the event inspires Hackett’s apocalyptic mural collage/painting, which literally comes to life at the film’s conclusion, at least in the protagonist’s mind. 

 At the a world premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Buccaneer (1938) at Grauman's Chinese Theater is where the Hollywood dream turns into a fiery phantasmagoric holocaust. Indeed, when a creepy proto-tranny child named ‘Adore Loomis’ (Jackie Earle Haley)—a platinum blond(e) kid pervert that plays the peeping tom when his mother isn’t whoring ‘him’ out for small roles movies—dares to tease Homer one-too-many-times in between obnoxiously singing “Jeepers Creepers” and hitting him in the head with a rock, among other forms of childish degradation, he ultimately finds himself resigned to the strangely fitting undignified fate of being stomped to death. Already totally distraught because Faye has left him, the insufferable child’s taunts ultimately cause Homer to completely explode to the point where he does not even bother to notice that he stomps the kid to death in front of seemingly thousands of people, thereupon sparking a full-scale riot where he is seemingly ripped apart by an angry lynch mob while a rather rotund studio announcer unwittingly brags about the excitement of the crowd in a totally twisted scenario that really underscores the curious combination of insipidly stupid spectacle and emotion retardation that personifies Hollywood. In the end, the entire area is burned down, including pine trees, while Hackett loses his mind as he finally acknowledges the virtual hell that he has been condemned to. In the end, Faye goes by Hackett’s apartment and sadly discovers that he has wisely vacated the premises, though his rose-in-the-wall remains.  In short, this Hollywood film hardly has a happy Hollywood ending, though it is certainly bittersweet that Hackett wisely hightails it out of Hollyweird hell.  As to the status of Hackett's sanity, one can only speculate.

 Rather unsurprisingly considering its decidedly dark and respectably audience-alienating subject matter, The Day of the Locust—a big budget film that only grossed about $2,300,000, which was about a third of its cost—was one of the biggest flops of 1975 and it seems that Hollywood, including the studio that produced it, was not exactly sad about this fact. For example, as Schlesinger explained to Buruma in regard to how the film was received among friends and associates when it was first screened, “Afterward, in a rather smart Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills, we found Polanski and Jack Nicholson, and a lot of people who were in CHINATOWN, sitting at the next table. They looked very embarrassed. Eventually someone came over and said, ‘I want to congratulate you,’ but they were obviously very embarrassed by their reaction—or lack of it—and so was I. I think the film generally wasn’t being received terribly well.” Apparently other people, including respected Hollywood filmmakers, were more vocal about their disdain for the film, or as Schlesinger’s official biographer William J. Mann explained in Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger (2004), “Hollywood was, quite frankly, appalled; many took the film as a personal affront. John was told that at a screening at a movie executive’s home in Bel Air, the exec’s wife stood up halfway through and apologized to her guests for making them sit through such an outrage. Even some who seemingly shared John’s spirit of challenge found the film too hard on the industry. Sidney Lumet, director of SERPICO and DOG DAY AFTERNOON, was bashing LOCUST all around town, reportedly asking, ‘How can Schlesinger shit where he eats?’ Word got back to John, who was furious, prompting a four-page hand-written apology from Lumet.”  Indeed, it seems that even fellow semitic subversive auteurs found Schlesinger's film to be an unforgivable assault on the studio system they seemingly pretended to rebel against, which is exactly why The Day of the Locust is ultimately considerably more transgressive than the filmmaker's much more widely beloved Midnight Cowboy.

Of course, as a patently preternatural arthouse affair on Hollywood steroids that concludes with the protagonist’s and, in turn America and the entire world’s, (Hollywood) dreams going up in smoke in a violently surreal and hypnotically haunting Hollywood holocaust that can be seen as both a cold ruthless execution and deservedly cynical eulogy for Tinseltown—as if Schlesinger had some sort of (subconscious) belief that the studios had committed certain ungodly crimes and they would eventually be ruthlessly punished for said crimes in a big brutal kismetic fashion—the film was naturally doomed to offend the majority of people. In that sense, it is rather fitting that this apocalyptic conclusion is sparked by the brutal murder of an obscenely obnoxious sort of proto-tranny child, as it hints at the seemingly perennial rumors of (sexual) abuse in Hollywood as noted by people Corey Feldman as well as the aberrant sexualization and androgynization of children in Hollywood films (somewhat fittingly, the kid was portrayed by Jackie Earle Haley, who would go on to portray child killer/molester Freddy Krueger in the abortive A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) remake). It is also fitting that it is a largely innocent and seemingly virginal Christian man—the sort of individual that Hollywood regularly targets for abuse—ushers in this apocalypse.  In that regard, I would not be surprised if certain Hollywood producers and studio heads interpreted the film as some sort of prophetic threat where these very powerful individuals were forced to consider for the very first time in their entire lives that their degenerate movie miscreations might provoke a backlash of biblical proportions, hence the fitting setting of a Cecil B. DeMille—a filmmaker of Hebraic extraction that oftentimes took a curiously homoerotic approach to his religious epics—movie premiere.

 As reflected in its uniquely unflattering portrayal of Hollywood and its history, there is good reason that studio heads and filmmakers loathed the film, as it has a certain scathing covert contra kosher spirit. For example, before succumbing to Hollywood-inflicted alcoholism, Harry Greener semi-cryptically alludes to the Judaic control of Hollywood by stating while making certain vaudevillian shylock-like gestures, “you ain’t got a chance in hell if you ain’t one of them. You know what I mean? And they got it all locked up. To hell with them.”  Of course, the character's sentiments are not random, as famous figures even used to express such concerns, even card-carrying communists like novelist Theodore Dreiser. As Neal Gabler explained in An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood (1988), “Even within Hollywood itself there was mumbling about Jewish control. For some it was the handiest rationale for thwarted dreams. Theodore Dreiser had been lured out to Hollywood in the thirties to oversee the film production of his monumental novel AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, but he had battled hammer and tongs with Paramount over what he felt was the ‘traducing’ of his masterpiece, and now he had departed, trying to raise money for a new project on tobacco monopolist James Buchanan Duke. When that failed, Dreiser blamed the Jews. He wrote a Swiftian satire suggesting that Jews be rounded up and packed off to Kansas where they could do no more harm. To a friend he wrote, ‘The movies are solidly Jewish. They've dug in, demploy only Jews with American names. . . . The dollar sign is the guide—mentally & physically. That American should be led—the mass—by thei direction is beyond all believing. In addition, they are arrogant, insolent and contemptuous.’” Apparently, such counter-kosher sentiments were not simply isolated to gentiles as Louis B. Mayer was apparently quite fond of throwing around antisemitic slurs as alluded to by the character based on him played by Michael Lerner in Barton Fink and Jewish New York film executive Herbert Somborn even immediately plotted to get Gloria Swanson ”out of the hands of these Eastern European Jews” after marrying her. Knowing all of this, it is surely fitting that excerpts from The Day of the Locust appear in the documentary Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998), which is a sort of superficial adaptation of Gabler's book.  After all, not unlike Gabler's book, Schlesinger's film is one of the few honest examples of the hermetic Hebraic history of Hollywood.

Needless to say, it is hardly a subtle nod to the character of the typical semitic studio director when Hebraic hack William Castle portrays a ‘fascistic’ filmmaker that screams at the crew and ultimately directs them into literal tragedy. It is also notable that said tragedy is set during the Battle of Waterloo, which is a historical event that is noted for creating a good portion of the Rothschild Banking Dynasty’s wealth. In fact, the Nazi propaganda film Die Rothschilds (1940) aka The Rothschilds' Shares in Waterloo directed by Erich Waschneck depicts this scenario and there’s a good chance that Schlesinger was aware of this fact as it is known that he was at least familiar with some Nazi cinema.  Even more incriminating, the pre-Code Hollywood film The House of Rothschild (1934)—a vehemently pro-Jewish production that, although quite successful as the biggest hit of the year for Twentieth Century Picture and a work that was even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, is curiously completely unavailable today—concludes with Nathan Rothschild becoming the richest man in the world as a result of the Battle of Waterloo and even gleefully bragging, “Europe hides its head in shame because it borrows from the Jews.” On a more unintentional yet nonetheless still subtextual level, the film even exploited the work of old Israelites that very quite possibly worked in Golden Age Hollywood, or as Mann explained in regard to a scene involving Harry Greener, “Even less orderly was the faith-healing sequence. Several hundred extras were bused in to act as Geraldine Page’s faithful followers. ‘Old-age pensions,’ John reported, ‘many of whom had come from Jewish old people’s homes and who were confronted by three neon crosses saying, ‘Give to Jesus.’ Up on stage, the choir mistress was trying to rouse the extras by urging them to pray to the Savior. Some in the crowd didn’t understand they were to be in a movie and were terribly offended; some stormed back to the bus, complaining loudly. ‘Looking back on it,’ John said, ‘it was really very funny.’” Undoubtedly, the fact that Schlesinger personally felt that the semitic scenario was hilarious only adds to the absurdist hilarity of this scene in subsequent viewings. 

 I don’t know what motivated me to endure such frivolously schmaltzy, shallow, and just downright soulless celluloid bromide, but I recently watched George Stevens’ classic RKO musical Swing Time (1936) and it reminded me how much Golden Age Hollywood polluted the world with outstandingly artistically bankrupt kitsch crap that really has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, as if the major studios were largely run by a sociopathic race of hedonistic space aliens that had nil clue as to how to express organic human emotions and merely substituted them with the great aesthetic sin of brashly bombastic spectacle. Of course, this is just one of the many reasons I treasure a film like The Day of the Locust that, not like Robert Altman’s The Player (1992), takes an oftentimes darkly humorous approach to forcing Hollywood to drown in its own grandiloquent depravity and almost otherworldly hypocrisy while exposing its excremental excesses and ludicrous lies. In fact, I think it might be fitting punishment for the more corrupt studio heads to being subjected watching the film on a loop for eternity while being forced to shine Robert Bresson’s shoes, clean P.P. Pasolini’s toilet, and wash Carl Th. Dreyer’s underwear.  Surely, it is a sort of poetic form of cinematic kismet that Teutonic master auteur F.W. Murnau died tragically in Hollywood after having his films like 4 Devils (1928) and City Girl (1930) tampered with by the studios and then temporarily escaping to the South Pacific for his swansong Tabu (1931).  While Schlesinger would live a number of years longer than Murnau, his experience with Hollywood was not all that different as virtually all of his later films were tampered with or mere soulless hack work after the flop of The Day of the Locust. Indeed, as Mann rightly noted, “THE DAY OF THE LOCUST was the last of John Schlesinger’s ‘great’ films. It was the last time he would so completely immerse himself in an attempt to create something monumental, in which he and a group of brilliant, trusted collaborators truly sought to find an original, artistic interpretation of the material they were putting on the screen.”

 While Schlesinger's previous film Sunday Bloody Sunday was also a flop, it at least received very positive reviews from most of the right respected critics whereas The Day of the Locust was attacked by most critics, including many of those sympathetic to the auteur's previous films. One of the few people that seemed to both appreciate and understand the film was Judith Crist, who paid it a great compliment when she described it as a, “Consideration of the American dream by way of the factory town that dispensed it . . . To call it the finest film of the past several years is to belittle it. It stands beyond comparison.”  Crist's words are no mere puffery because, in terms of sheer scope and ambition as well as epic eccentricity, Schlesinger's arguable magnum opus is like The Wizard of Oz (1939) of sardonic (anti)Hollywood Golden Age period pieces as a (sometimes) subtle satire of the strikingly idiosyncratic sort that also packs pathos and even manages to be genuinely horrifying than the best horror flicks (undoubtedly, the conclusion of the film somewhat echoes the more phantasmagorical scenes of Herk harvey's classic Carnival of Souls (1962)).  Of course, this is no surprise as anything resembling cinematic art that comes out of Hollywood tends to defy genre and audience expectation, though The Day of the Locust goes beyond this as a largely plot-less portrait of preternatural misery and misanthropy where virtually every single character is forsaken and ‘happiness’—or, at least, any sort of long-term happiness—is exposed as, at best, a terribly naive ideal and, at worst, a shallow fantasy sold to suckers by innately manipulative Hollywood culture distorters, hence the lack of love for such a film.  In short, the film gives a way the garbage game of Hebraic Hollywood and does with a sort of understated acidic aesthetic style of one thousand dope-addled failed screen divas courteously of the great cinematographer Conrad L. Hall (In Cold Blue, Fat City).  In terms of its sort of plot-less promenade approach where the viewer randomly encounters an eclectic collection of characters like an ant at an ant hill and rather misanthropic spirit and mostly unflattering depictions of sex and sexuality, the film is certainly comparable to Georgian auteur Otar Iosseliani's classic Les Favoris de la lune (1984) aka Favorites of the Moon of all films.

I recently watched David Robert Mitchell's darkly comedic neo-noir Under the Silver Lake (2018) and, while I did not find it as enjoyable or immaculate as the auteur's previous film It Follows (2014), I could not help but wallow in the fairly singular cinematic experience it provides due to its sometimes surreal approach to depicting Los Angeles as a virtual hellhole disguised as heaven where the rich and famous voluntarily prematurely end in their lives in a tomb of hedonism due to an absurd (pseudo)religious belief that their souls will magically ‘ascend’ like ancient Egyptian Pharaohs.  Indeed, whether it be the brutal S&M sods of Fred Halsted's classic experimental homo hardcore flick LA Plays Itself (1972), the sinister quasi-vampiric Hollywood Hills brother-sister duo that drain swingers of their precious sanguine fluids in The Black Room (1982) co-directed by Elly Kenner and Norman Thaddeus Vane, or the slow-burning post-Lynchian lunacy of the Coen brothers' cryptically contra kosher Barton Fink (1991), I love films that absolutely annihilate the Hollywood dream and present Tinseltown as a nefarious nightmare that the Devil himself would be proud to call home.  After all, how else can one think of a patently phony place involved in greatly profiting from a global social engineering project that involves regularly defecates out putrid cinematic products that teach women promiscuity and abortions are a form of liberation, portray perverts and aberrosexuals as lovable bourgeois types, and have even gone as far as attempting to pass off Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand as highly desirable sex symbols, among other distinctly despicable things.

While she was mostly a dumb twat that undoubtedly inspired countless young women to ruin their lives, Marilyn Monroe was probably onto something when she said, “Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”  Of course, considering Monroe's degenerate background, I would wager that The Day of the Locust is more reliable in terms of ultimately demonstrating that one only has to simply live in Hollywood to lose one's soul and that the studios need not sacrifice fifty cents to ensnare the average person.  After all, most people are willing to shell out their own hard-earned cash to have Hollywood colonize their minds with anti-human trash that pollutes their psyche and defiles their soul.  Somehow, I think this will eventually contribute to something more horrifying holocaustic than the ending of Schlesinger's film, but then again I stopped going to movies theater to see blockbuster schlock about a decade ago because I much prefer the life-affirming misery and misanthropy of Fassbinder and Bergman to the sugarcoated celluloid cyanide of Spielberg and Singer.  Speaking of Spielberg, we can at least partly credit him and his early blockbusters like Jaws (1975) for helping to kill the artistic auteur cinema of the so-called New Hollywood era that The Day of the Locust belongs to.  While Spielberg probably wields more international influence than the average Western European prime minister, films like Under the Silver Lake and shows like Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace (2016) ultimately demonstrate that the true Faustian spirit is still not completely conquered.

-Ty E

Jun 5, 2019

Lancelot of the Lake

A number of years ago, I started binge-watching various TV series and eventually encountered a new show I never heard of called Game of Thrones. As a fan of HBO original series like The Sopranos, Oz, and Carnivàle and classic epic fantasy flicks like John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981), I had no reason to suspect that I would dislike the show and—at least for a couple seasons—I was proven right as I found the mostly-all-European cast and sometimes brutal fight scenes to be rather refreshing compared to most of the xenophiliac crypto-commie crap that passes for popular entertainment.  Of course, as someone that was told as a very young impressionable kid by a much older faux-sword-wielding cousin that he was a medieval knight in a former life, the show naturally also had personal appeal for me in the true fantasy sense.  Rather unfortunately, over the years, the show has became more and more insanely popular despite its glaring overall declining quality and has become a sort of sports-ball equivalent for craft-beer-fetishizing urban chic hipsters at dive bars as demonstrated by the countless radically retarded reaction videos on YouTube, yet I kept watching the show in the naïve hope that the Night King and his army of undead Aryan Übermensch White Walkers would destroy the entire world in a glorious end-of-the-world showdown where death—and only death—prevails in a truly apolcapyitic fashion that concludes with a Säuberung of all of humanity. Of course, being a show penned by two Hebraic hacks that did not have the benefit of relying on source material for the last couple seasons because source writer George R. R. Martin (who, incidentally, recently magically discovered that he was about 1/4 chosenite after a genetic test for the PBS show Finding Your Roots) seems to suffer from perennial writer’s block (or, probably more accurately, he seems to have written himself into a corner), the final season is innately idiotic shit and involves a number of patently preposterous and carelessly contrived deus ex machine scenarios, including a virtual little girl inexplicably killing the most powerful supernatural creature in the entire world in what is arguably the most painful cinematic ‘ruined orgasm’ scenario in all of moving picture history.

While coethnic show creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss—two proud beneficiaries of nepotism that are so severely hated by die hard GoT fans that they are affectionately known as ‘dumb and dumber’—try to justify their shitty writing under the guise of ‘subverting expectations,’ it is clearly motivated to some degree by atavistic racial hatred and contempt, hence its gleeful kabalistic approach to warping and distorting perennial European myths and archetypes (surely, it is nothing short of painfully symbolic that former CIA Deputy Director David S. Cohen, who is the brother-in-law of Benioff, had a cameo on the show). Needless to say, after foolishly enduring such asinine aesthetic terrorism, I felt the need for complete cinematic purification in the form of immersing myself in real European medieval fantasy that is everything that GoT is not and naturally decided on re-watching Lancelot of the Lake (1974) aka Lancelot du Lac directed by French master auteur Robert Bresson (Pickpocket, Au Hasard Balthazar). Unlike GoT, which tries to pass off cheap gratuitous sex and violence and an alien hatred for ancient European archetypes as being brilliantly ‘subversive’ (undoubtedly, ressentiment-driven ‘culture distortion’ is a more apt description), Bresson’s film is the real delightfully Delphic deal as a seriously subversive piece of arcane yet assiduous Arthurian cinema that thankfully does not depict an insultingly idiotic fantasy world where dipsomaniacal dwarfs, all-noble eunuchs, foreign savages, and potty-mouthed little girls are the greatest and most heroic moral crusaders and a tiny tom-boy magically defeats literal death in icy anthropomorphic form.  Magnificently metaphysically morose and melancholic in its great tragedy, like Christ's still-warm corpse trampled on by a wandering band of money-changers on a humid mosquito-ridden night, the film utilizes the great Occidental myths of the past to depict foredoomed spirit of the present in a manner that can almost be described as Cioranian sans the gleeful cynicism and spiritual sterility.

 Whereas Game of Thrones concludes in a manner that is more underwhelming, insipid, and morally retarded than one might expect from the weed-whacked fan fiction of a considerably mentally feeble Moroccan teenage sociopath and was clearly written by sickeningly self-satisfied speds with a clear kosher contempt for their audience where marvelously Michael Bay-esque spectacle is supreme and narrative consistency is, at best, a sad secondary concern, Lancelot of the Lake is a spiritually stark yet deathly devout Arthurian tone poem that basks in the inevitably tragic and depicts knightly battle as appropriately entertaining as a blood-splattered abattoir and as romantic as the cold blue bloated corpse of an unfaithful soul mate. Austerely apocalyptic, the film depicts a somewhat anachronistic realm of deluded desires and dead dreams where people oftentimes pray to god yet he never responds and where the disappearance of the Grail is symbolic of man’s moral and spiritual descent. While not romantic in the ‘traditional’ sense, the film is certainly equipped with a sort of uniquely understated lovelorn pathos as personified by the tragic ill-fated love affair of the eponymous protagonist Lancelot and his beloved mistress Queen Guinevere as they sneak around the shadows like forsaken somnambulists that haven’t quite considered that they might already be in hell. Of course, the forlorn dark romance does not stop there as Lancelot’s moody and broody men also perish under lamentable circumstances, including his young protégé and best friend Gawain, who tragically dies at the hand of the man he loves yet still manages to express with a certain degree of unforgettable ghostly resonance the last dying words, “my heart is with him.”  And, despite their glaring flaws and all the more glaringly dejecting demeanors, your heart cannot help but also be with Lancelot and his knights, thereupon making the sting of their brutal demise all the more indelible just as any great Bresson character, no matter how ‘model-like.’

 Right from the get-go, Bresson establishes an eerily yet exquisitely morbid tone with premonitions of things to come in the form of brutal battle scenes, including the senseless destruction of religious icons, knights being decapitated and taking blades to the genitals, and skeletons (still sporting plate amour) hanging from trees while being pecked at by crows. From there, the film opens with a prologue spelled out in blood-red-letters unfolding on an image of a chalice (aka the Holy Grail) that reads: “After marvelous adventures in which Lancelot of the Lake played a heroic part, the Knights of the Round Table set off in search of the Grail. The Grail was a vessel in which Joseph of Arimathea had gathered the blood of Christ. It was to bestow supernatural power. It was believed hidden in Brittany. Merlin, before his death, pledged the knights to the quest. Merlin had indicated that the quest should be led by Perceval (Parsifal), not by Lancelot. After leaving the castle, the knights were dispersed. Perceval was not seen again. Two years have passed. Decimated, the knights return to King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. They have not found the Grail.” After the prologue, the viewer encounters another unsettling premonition where an old woman declares to her assumed granddaughter, “He whose footfalls precede him will die within a year.” When the granddaughter points out that she said the same exact thing the previous day, the old woman ominously replies, “It is the same omen for them all.” In what ultimately proves to be a less than auspicious scene, Lancelot (Luc Simon), who (quite symbolically) got lost after a disastrous battle that claimed the lives of many of his men, then appears to the old woman and asks for directions so that he can get back to his camp. Of course, things only go downhill from there as the film progresses and Bresson leaves it up to the viewer to speculate as to why the knights could not find the Grail and why Camelot and the Round Table eventually completely fall apart. While Lancelot’s treacherous love affair with his beloved king’s wife certainly contributes to this, there are other (seemingly much darker) forces involved that hint at a certain collective forsaken state of man, as if all hope and goodness has been extinguished from the world, hence the staying power of Bresson's film in the increasingly spiritually and culturally necrotizing Occident. 

 I hate to sound like a simple knuckle-dragging mamzer, but arguably the most potent theme of Lancelot of the Lake is the particularly precarious nature of putting pussy on a pedestal, especially in an all-male context, and how a single woman can lead to the destruction of an entire male order, though Bresson apparently had a more romantic view of the situation as indicated by his words, “Lancelot and Guinevere are like Tristan and Isolde without the love potion. A predestined love, a passionate love facing impossible obstacles. This love and its fluctuations provide the movement of the film.” Indeed, to quote the GoT character Maester Aemon played by the late great Peter Vaughan (Straw Dogs, The Remains of the Day), “Love is the death of duty,” or so the titular antihero and his comrades discover the hard way. For being a patently poorly written show that attempted to pass off the bastardization of classic fantasy conventions as brilliant displays of literary subversion, especially during the last couple seasons, Game of Thrones did have its memorable moments of perennial truth and Maester Aemon’s words ultimately inspire the show’s hero Jon Snow to more or less save the world by selflessly sacrificing his love and killing his demented dragon bitch lover-cum-aunt who, among other things, used foreign brown hordes to carryout out a full-blown genocide of Dresden-esque proportions because her ‘feelings were hurt.’ In Lancelot of the Lake, the titular hero also decides to sacrifice his love, but it ultimately proves to be too-little-too-late. Notably, as Bresson wrote in an essay entitled ‘Torn Between Fidelity and Felony’ in regard to the film, “I am a Christian filmmaker. But I have no intention of drawing a parallel between our secularized culture and a previous time when people lived lives of exalted faith. I didn’t make LANCELOT to elaborate on a parable. Our hero is aware of his responsibility for the failure to find the Grail; I’m interested in how he is torn between fidelity and felony, love and purity. He’s a man crushed by the machine of a destiny shaped by luck and predestination. . . .There is neither conversion nor redemption in my film—unlike some other stories about the Knights of the Round Table. Nonetheless, Lancelot’s remorse could be seen as the beginning of atonement. . . .I am absolutely not the Jansenist people sometimes call me. . .except maybe when it has to do with form.”   As Bresson's words indicate, he completely subverts expectations and, quite unlike the Hebraic GoT hacks, brings aesthetic honor to his cultural heritage in a largely aesthetically bankrupt age without honor.  In that sense, Bresson follows in the footsteps of his Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) collaborator Jean Cocteau in terms of taking a respectably subversive modernist approach to classic European myths.

 Notably once describing the absence of the ever elusive Grail as its “secret engine,” Bresson somewhat curiously made the film after deciding to dedicate his career to ‘contemporary’ cinema as opposed to period pieces, so it is only natural that it is inordinately contemporary in the metaphysical sense. Indeed, as Bresson stated himself, “I think the temptation of modern life was constantly with me; it was brought up by the events in LANCELOT. Even religious faith: How could I forget the current crisis in the Church? I wanted to title the film THE GRAIL, precisely because of the intensity of the Grail’s absence throughout the film.” Surely, after watching a film as decidedly dispiriting and hypnotically hopeless yet as strikingly transcendental as Lancelot of the Lake, it is no surprise that Bresson followed it up with Le Diable probablement (1977) aka The Devil, Probably where suicide seems to be the only true reprieve from the superlatively spiritually/culturally/politically bankrupt world of (post)modernity.  Indeed, in many ways, Bresson's almost intolerably hopeless (anti)Arthurian tragedy foreshadows the suffocating Weltschmerz and despondency that afflicts the characters of the auteur's singularly bleak last couple of films.  In other words, although a masterpiece in its own right, Lancelot of the Lake—a fantasy flick that is carefully stripped-down to the bare essentials and mostly glaringly devoid of the escapist elements that typically define fantasy flicks—feels like a sort of imperative cinematic initiation for The Devil, Probably and the auteur's swansong L'Argent (1983).

 While probably not Bresson’s intent, it is surely strikingly symbolic that Queen Guinevere is portrayed by Laura Duke Condominas, who is the daughter of decidedly degenerate French-American feminist sculptor and sometimes filmmaker Niki de Saint-Phalle. Aside from the fact that Condominas was married to a man that was associated with the Zanzibar Group—a counterculture experimental cinema (micro)movement that was led by alienated (and mostly long-haired) youth not unlike the characters of The Devil, Probably—her mother de Saint-Phalle demonstrated with her incest-driven experimental feature Daddy (1973) a fiercely forsaken spirit that could not be further from the Grail in terms of spirit. Still, despite her madre’s debauched essence and association with a bunch of frog hippie weirdos, Condominas could not be more immaculate in her forsakenly lovelorn gloom in Lancelot of the Lake as she manages to keep both Lancelot and the viewer hopelessly leashed to her penetratingly pensive pulchritudinous despite her complete and utter lack of sexually suggestive behavior. Indeed, Condominas’ Queen Guinevere ostensibly bleeds purity despite cuckolding her honorable royal husband and, in turn, completely compromising the very existence of the Knights of the Round Table. Of course, to go back to Maester Aemon: “What is honor compared to a woman's love?” While the singularly honorable Lancelot virtually unwittingly unleashes a knightly Ragnarök due to his betrayal, the film makes it almost seem worth it, at least for a second, hence the true timeless tragedy of it all. In that sense, quite unlike most cinema, Bresson's film is as timeless as the ancient parable that inspired it despite its sometimes glaring aesthetic anachronisms. 

 While Queen Guinevere’s infidelity and Lancelot’s treachery surely act as the catalyst to the virtually apocalyptic downfall of Camelot, certain feminine tendencies among certain very resentful effete males also contribute to the destruction of the Knights of the Round Table. While Lancelot’s betrayal is at least somewhat understandable, his longtime enemy Mordred (Patrick Bernhard)—a cowardly little toad that acts as a central source of chaos inside Camelot—is an innately repugnant creature without even the remotest redeemable qualities and he arguably plays the most crucial role in collapsing the kingdom. When all the Knights went to battle in a tragic event that lead to the deaths of many of the members of the Round Table and disappearance of the Grail, Mordred—a sniveling “virgin sword” that cons others into doing his fighting for him—stayed behind with the women. Ostensibly a knight yet seemingly completely unwilling to fight, Mordred undoubtedly makes Queen Guinevere seem look like a naively innocent virgin as far as negative feminine qualities are concerned as he is a prissy yet quite pernicious passive-aggressive narcissist and compulsive coward that, instead of offering Lancelot’s friendship, conspires like GoT queen bitch Cersei Lannister to use the most craven of means to destroy the protagonist and takeover Camelot. As even Gawain remarks to Lancelot in regard to Mordred’s refusal of peace, “For much lesser affronts, you’ve drawn your sword and struck at the heart.” Needless to say, Mordred believes he has all the ammo he needs to destroy Lancelot when he learns of his affair with Queen Guinevere and he even conspires to have the protagonist assassinated, declaring his followers, “His blood on the floor here will unmask the adulterous traitor.” While the assassination plot is an abject failure and Lancelot manages to avert a battle with King Arthur by voluntarily relinquishing his ladylove, Mordred destroys everything by unexpectedly capturing the castle in an apocalyptic battle that concludes with seemingly every single character dying, including the horses. Indeed, in a deceptively ominous forest, men die from blood loss via their genitals while renegade archers pick them off from the comfort of trees. As for Lancelot, he cries out “Guinevere” and then collapses next to a pile of his dead comrades, including his king. 

 Notably, in the imperative (yet somewhat dated) film resource Cinema: A Critical Dictionary (1980), Richard Roud argues in regard to Bresson’s great accomplishment with the film, “Psychologically, the film is his richest—for it is not a simple triangle story. There is also Gawain (Gauvain), who is presented as Lancelot’s best friend and also in love with Guinevere—and yet loyal to both Arthur and Lancelot. Between these four characters there is a tension which is all the stronger because it is never clearly defined. Although the films ends in total destruction, there is a kind of transcendent radiance in the relations between the main characters because of the way in which Bresson portrays this birth of desire and a more exalted form of passion. And it is from this struggle that LANCELOT derives its strength and luminosity and that sense of physical and spiritual exaltation that had been absent in Bresson’s oeuvre since PICKPOCKET.” Indeed, the film leaves the indelible sting that comes with the death of beauty; the beauty of young porcelain-like epicene bodies and a sort of emotional war between true love, true friendship, and honor, hence the true tragedy of it all. In its brazenly brutal climatic depiction of archers killing the knights from trees with the comfort of knowing they do not even have to face their victims, the film also hints at the death of honor and heroism following the Middle Ages and evolution of technology and, in turn, rise of emotionally detached/dishonorable forms of warfare (notably, such a scenario is poetically depicted in Japanese auteur Masaki Kobayashi's masterpiece Harakiri (1962) when three Ashigaru contemptibly use matchlock guns to kill the film's protagonist as he commits seppuku). As Roud noted in this regard, “Ostensibly the subject of the film is the self-thwarting love of Lancelot and Guinevere, but it is also—or even more—a film about the end of the Middle Ages. The impossible quest for the Grail has ended in failure, and the impossible dream of an ideal society has also proved unworkable. It is not accident that Bresson ends the film with the slaughter of the knights by foot-soldiers with cross-bows. This may not be historically accurate, but this is not a realistic film. Nevertheless, it presents us with a view of feudal society that is marred by none of the complacency or sentimentality of films like LES VISITEURS DU SOIR.” Of course, the death of true belief and spirituality would also follow, hence the disappearance of the Grail. 

 Since it is probably impossible to gauge the true aesthetic influence of a film as understatedly masterful as Lancelot of the Lake, it almost seems like an act of heretical cinephilia to argue that Bresson was probably somewhat influenced by younger filmmakers, namely Philippe Garrel and his early experimental parables like Le Lit de la Vierge (1969) aka The Virgin's Bed and La cicatrice intérieure (1972) aka The Inner Scar. Of course, Garrel was obviously heavily influenced by Bresson himself and never quite achieved the maturity and influence of the old master who, quite unlike any other filmmaker, demonstrated a unrivaled understanding of younger generations well into his golden years as is especially obvious in The Devil, Probably.  One cannot also forget that Garrel was associated with the Zanzibar Group, which Lancelot of the Lake female lead Laura Duke Condominas was also associated with.  Undoubtedly, in its beauteously brutal and audaciously anachronistic approach to ancient European myth, Yvan Lagrange’s underrated Tristan et Iseult (1972) is insanely idiosyncratically Bressonian in the best sort of way. While utilizing slightly more supernatural elements, Dutch auteur Jos Stelling’s debut feature Mariken van Nieumeghen (1974) can almost be described as brutally Bressonian due to its uncompromisingly unflattering depiction of humanity and no bullshit approach to death and destruction.  Speaking of Dutch filmmakers, Paul Verhoeven's Flesh+Blood (1985)—a sort of proto-Game of Thrones that subverts classic fantasy archetypes and is full of blood, boobs, and barbarism—is like Bresson meets Hollywood. It is also certainly fitting that Perceval is MIA in Lancelot of the Lake as Éric Rohmer’s Perceval (1978) could not be more different than Bresson’s film in terms of its absurd artifice, flowery fantasy, and preposterous pageantry. 

 Notably, in his virtual cinematic manifesto Notes on the Cinematograph (1975)—a tiny book that is certainly worth its weight in gold where the auteur reveals his cinematic ideas and philosophy in aphoristic form—Bresson declares, “Cinematography, a military art. Prepare a film like a battle.” Of course, Bresson’s words are dually true in regard to Lancelot of the Lake, which also can be described as embodying both the original French military meaning and contemporary artistic meaning of the word ‘avant-garde.’ Undoubtedly, it is strangely fitting that the Arthurian avant-garde led by the titular lead of the film is exterminated in the end by a more technically advanced group of archers that are fighting in the name of a cowardly traitor as it not only foreshadows the future of Arthurian cinema and (European) cinema as a whole, but the Occident in general; just as it is strangely fitting that gay mischling SS-Obersturmführer Otto Rahn ultimately committed suicide under rather dubious circumstances after his noble yet hopelessly naive failed real-life attempt to find the Holy Grail. While Game of Thrones and the books based on it played at attempting to be ‘subversive’ in the realm of epic fantasy (it is probably no coincidence that George R. R. Martin was heavily influenced by kosher frog Maurice Druon), they ultimately represent failed exercises of nihilism as less than nobly sired by aesthetically hostile racial aliens that have only contempt (and ultimately nil innate understanding) of the ancient Occidental archetypes they frivolously play with. Indeed, whereas GoT is nothing more than normie entertainment that ultimately proved to excel in little more than execrable escapism in its final season, Lancelot of the Lake represents the apocalyptic state of an ancient myth and ultimately an organic representation the sick soul of Europa.

 Indeed, in its depiction of a morosely moribund männerbund that accepts total death before dishonor, the film also celebrates the European spirit in its twilight. Of course, the all-too-pretty long-haired hippie knights with anachronistic fruity lime-green tights more than hint at Occidental decline, but it is better that they accept death in battle than a slow degenerative decline, just as it would be ideal if Europe went out in a Götterdämmerung over the slow and painful humiliation that is the insanely insidious and innately anti-European globohomo game plan of the present where even Nietzsche's Last Man has been totally transcended in terms of pathetic passivity and aberrosexuals, hostile alien invaders, and the melanin-privileged have been absurdly morally elevated to the level that knights, war heroes, and great statesmen once were before the latently apocalyptic Americanization of the world.  After all, even if a young enterprising Europid wants to attempt to demonstrate their heroism in battle nowadays, they don't really have any real options aside from fighting for a perennial enemy in a cold and detached war against his own racial/cultural interests in a decidedly dystopian technocratic zionist military comprised of women, illegal aliens, perverts, and other less than knightly elements.  Rather unfortunately, to quote Death In June, “IT IS THE FATE OF OUR AGE THAT WE FIGHT IN ISOLATION.”

-Ty E

May 7, 2019

Blue Movie (1971)

I have to confess that ‘Blue Movie’ is certainly a film title that, although fairly generic and even a bit antiquated, has obsessed me for a number of years, namely because it is the title of three very different, albeit all technically erotic, films that I have had an interest in at one point or another. Indeed, aside from the Andy Warhol flick also known as Fuck (1969) starring Viva and Louis Waldon and the truly eerie and esoteric rape-ridden 1978 artsploitation of the same name directed by underrated aberrant-garde Italian auteur Alberto Cavallone, the Dutch sexploitation flick Blue Movie (1972) directed by Wim Verstappen has been on my radar for a number of years but it was not until the other day that I actually got the opportunity to watch it via the new Cult Epics blu-ray. As an inordinately obsessive fan of Dutch cinema, I naturally had been intending to watch the film for sometime as it is considered a key cinematic work in the Netherlands due to more or less single-handedly demolishing the censoring power of the Dutch film Ratings Board (which was officially dismantled in 1977) and thus influencing the more explicit films of greater filmmakers like Paul Verhoeven and ultimately becoming an unexpected huge hit as one of the most (monetarily) successful Dutch films of all-time, yet I also had certain reservations due to it being a (s)exploitation flick made in collaboration between Wim Verstappen and Pim de la Parra (aka ‘Pim & Wim’) via their production company Scorpio Films. While there is no doubt that the aptly titled Blue Movie features enough flaccid cocks, bushy beavers, and large pendulous big sippers to be at least considered a genuine softcore fuck flick, it luckily features enough food-for-thought to chew onto to imbue one with a respectable degree of toxic intellectual diarrhea. Indeed, for a film that ostensibly celebrated the so-called ‘sexual liberation’ movement that initially blitzkrieged the Occident in the late-1960s and ultimately caused more long-term social damage to Europe than the Soviets ever could, it unequivocally depicts the (im)moral phenomenon in an exceedingly negative fashion, which is especially curious when one considers that the film’s Surinamese-Sephardic-Jewish producer de la Parra more or less spent his entire career peddling celluloid smut. Maybe it is because I am from a generation where porn has always been pretty easy to come by, but the only kind of people that Blue Movie might arouse is virginal middle school math teachers or young Mormon kids that has never seen a nice pair of shapely tits before. Luckily, the film was made in a (post)Calvinist nation where even ostensibly vogue erotica is impregnated with a certain discernible degree of pathological pessimism and cynicism.  In short, if you are one of the oh-so-few unfortunate beings that manages to get aroused enough to bust a load while watching the film, you will probably feel exceedingly guilty afterwards as you stare at your cheaply misspent baby batter.

Indeed, despite obviously mainly being a huge financial success due to its then-shocking (anti)erotic genital-driven content and the predictable scandal it caused, would-be-auteur Verstappen made a fairly intellectual plea as to why the film was more than mere disposable celluloid dung, or as Dutch film scholar Peter Verstraten explained in his book Humour and Irony in Dutch Post-War Fiction Film (2016): “Director Verstappen was dissatisfied with this decision and in a quite lengthy counter-plea he pointed out the scientific and religious purport of the film. BLUE MOVIE, he bluffed, should be seen as a loose adaptation of DE TOEKOMST DER RELIGIE [THE FUTURE OF RELIGION] (1947), a volume consisting of nine essays by the respectable writer Simon Vestdijk. Verstappen also attached an official American scientific research document, called THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON OBSCENITY AND PORNOGRAPHY, to his apology, for he claimed that this was crucial source material. By explaining in his apology that such extra-textual aspects had been influential, which of course was hard to deny, Verstappen provoked the Film Commission. Moreover, a psychologist was consulted who thought the film made sense from the perspective of his profession.” On top of being, relatively speaking, almost shockingly ‘intellectual,’ the films is—by modern degenerate liberal standards—fairly ‘red-pilled’ in terms of its rather frank depiction of male and female sexuality and the social influences behind said sexuality. In fact, the strongest and sanest voice of reason in the film is an old school ‘fascist’ zoologist-cum-professor that has come to the conclusion after studying monkeys that, as far as human sexuality is concerned, women look for ‘status’ (as provided by an alpha-male type) when it comes to men and men care more about the prestige a beautiful woman (translation: ‘trophy wife’) gives him than the actual beautiful woman herself. On top of that, a hedonistic lifestyle involving orgies, fucking married women, and creating pornography ultimately leads the male protagonist to becoming impotent, at least when it comes to a woman that he actually he loves in what ultimately proves to be a venomously ironical twist that is clearly meant to mock the raincoat crowd. In short, this erotic film demonstrates, so-called ‘free love’ is not free and, like so-called erotic films, can surely lead to the erasure of eros and a sort of excremental approach to human sexuality where sexual release becomes something akin to a bowel moment in terms of personal value. 

Like a sort of anti-Rear Window (1954) where the young and virile (as opposed to old and crippled) ‘hero’ spends his entire time fucking tons of (sub)debutantes in tons of different apartment building rooms instead of voyeuristically spying on them from the comfort of his apartment like Jimmy Stewart's rather sedentary character, Blue Movie might have by directed by a guy that has described himself as having been influenced by Hitchcock yet it can hardly be described as Hitchcockian, especially as a cinematic work that utilizes explicit sexual imagery over suggestive symbolism and hyper horny (yet oftentimes homely) whores and housewives as opposed to cool and mysterious platinum blonde bimbos. While Verstappen (with Martin Scorsese of all people!) co-penned his pal Pim’s almost obnoxiously Hitchcockian Dutch-German co-production Obsessions (1969) aka Bezeten - Het gat in de muur starring German actor turned producer Dieter Geissler (who also co-produced Blue Movie), his oftentimes dually flaccid fuck flick is brutally bare bones aesthetically speaking and has about as much visceral thriller-mystery tension as a New England fast food line, yet that it is ultimately to its benefit in terms of demystifying the innately idiotic Marcusian counterculture myth of ‘free love.’ Indeed, not coincidentally concluding on a shot of the obscenely oppressive and clinic apartment complex, which fittingly resembles a dystopian prison, that the protagonist and his feckless fuck buddies and friends have turned into a virtual human sex zoo where sexual shame and self-control have been just as thoughtlessly disposed of as civilization itself, the film demonstrates in a sometimes devastating (yet oftentimes humorously depicted) fashion that free love has resulted in a sort of cleverly cryptic metaphysical enslavement of the West that controls people more than any religion, government, or dictator ever could. It is also probably no coincidence that the very same base instincts that led to the protagonist serving a jail sentence also lead him to relative financial and social success despite also causing him to being unlovable and impotent in the end.  Indeed, as the film demonstrates in a relatively subtly sardonic fashion, the morally inverted world that the protagonist unexpectedly finds himself in after getting out of prison at the beginning of the film leads to his complete and utter retrogression as a human being; or, in short, the rather ironic consequences of so-called ‘progressive’ (sexual)politics. While the quite literally puritanical values of Calvinism that led to the once-powerful Dutch Empire are nowhere to be seen in the ostensibly hip and happening post-colonial Holland depicted in the film, flagrant philandering, treacherous cuckoldry, single mothers/bastard kids, porn addiction, sexual-shame-inspired suicide, and early age impotence, among other things, are so rampant that they can be found under the roof of one apartment building.  In short, Blue Movie makes for a rather mirthfully morbid masturbation aid and if you are dumb and/or sexually retarded enough to beat your meat to such a devilishly dejecting movie, just remember that the filmmaker(s) would be laughing at you (and rightly so!).

Blue Movie hero Michael (Hugo Metsers)—a rather dumb and unwitting yet reasonably affable dude that thinks with his dick instead of his brain—was sentenced to five years in prison for having sex with a slightly underage teenage girl, so naturally he is in for quite the surprise when he is finally released from the slammer and discovers that ‘free love’ is now the norm and that no one would dare give a shit about such a carnal ‘crime’ in the new sexually liberated climate in the Netherlands lest they be deemed uptight reactionaries and/or dorks. As a somewhat handsome 25-year-old buck that has spent about half a decade of his most sexually virile years completely pussy-starved (in fact, the protagonist had to spend an extra year in prison after beating up a queer that tried to rape him), Michael naturally sees his fairly conservative parole officer Eddie (Helmert Woudenberg, who is the son of a Dutch-Waffen-SS Untersturmführer)—a well-meaning yet unintentionally comical and seemingly half-autistic nerd that makes a piss poor attempt at warning the protagonist about the moral degeneration that has hit the tiny Lowland country—as somewhat of an obstacle in terms of trying to find a nice warm hole to stick his extra eager bald-headed bandit into. Luckily, Michael’s new apartment building, which resembles something you might expect to find in some obscure Soviet shithole, is packed with shameless whores that are completely down to fuck, including a number of married women.  In short, Michael had no way to predict that he would be unleashed in a recklessly wanton world that is beyond his most lurid dreams, but unfortunately he is also in no way prepared to deal with the unexpected consequences of such widespread hedonism.  Driven by a libido that is only transcended by a lack of IQ, Michael sometimes seems more like a giant pulsating penis than a man with a mind and personality.

 Despite respecting her zoologist husband Dr. Bernard Cohn (Kees Brusse)—a stoic scholar that acts as a sort of father figure for the protagonist—Michael finds himself reluctantly engaging in an affair with a mindless kraut cunt named Marianne (Ursula Blauth), who has no qualms about confessing to the hopelessly horny hero that she finds him especially attractive because hear bears a striking resemblance to a brother that she had an incestuous childhood relationship with. While a genius when it comes to studying monkeys and their strikingly eerie similarities with humans, Dr. Cohn—a rather conservative chap with a Kohenic kosher surname that couldn’t be less kosher in terms of attitude and demeanor—was clearly blinded by fine young female flesh when he dared to marry someone as young and dumb as Marianne, who is at least young enough to be his daughter. While clearly a failure when it comes to choosing the appropriate wife, Dr. Cohn ultimately eclipses parole officer Eddie in terms of acting as a sort of wise and sensible fatherly figure (in fact, he even acknowledges his foolishness in terms of choosing a young hot twat spouse). Clearly overwhelmed by the steady flow of warm-and-wet spunk-pots that are quite literally dropped off at his doorstep, Michael finds it to be impossible to turn down all the carnal-traps and thus ultimately find himself turning into a virtual fuck-toy for his entire apartment building. In fact, the protagonist finds himself so deeply buried in gash that it eventually leads him to gaining an admirable reputation and, in turn, a ton of cash after he learns to monetize his carnal prestige by becoming a full-blown pornographer, though it comes at a somewhat hefty price: his soul. 

 For many, if not most, young men, sex is naturally the most important thing in the entire world and the one activity where one expends the most time and energy attempting to procure but, as Dr. Cohn attempts to explain to Michael, there are much more important things in life than pussy. Indeed, when Michael asks him if sex is important, Dr. Cohn, who clearly did not become a successful professional as a result of spending all his time getting drunk and banging bar whores, bluntly replies, “Power, aggression is more fundamental” and even hilariously tells his wife—a hot twat harlot that seriously acts as if her gash is god’s great gift to the world—during the same heated conversation that, “Heaven doesn’t lie between your legs.” Needless to say, being part of a decidedly degenerate generation that has been strategically force-fed the bitter blue-pill of Marcusian mumbo jumbo, Marianne—the sort of impressionable yet not less self-absorbed I-got-my-head-up-my-add idiot that would believe Wilhelm Reich was a legit scientist—accuses her hubby scientist of being a big mean “fascist” for expressing traditional ideas that contradict her debauched tendencies towards extramarital excursions and consuming endless brotherly cock. As Dr. Cohn explains towards the end of the film upon confessing to Michael that he is fully aware that he has cuckolded him, “When you spend your life watching monkeys you learn about people […] I find it terrible.” While Dr. Cohn attempts to give Michael some fatherly advice about life, he also warns him, “Maybe you’re a born bachelor. And then such value is nonsense.” It seems that Michael may indeed be an accursed perennial bachelor of sorts as he actually attempts to transcend his degenerate Dutch Don Juan status and hooks up with a single mother named Julia (Ine Veen)—a girl that he was initially extremely attracted to yet ultimately rejected due to the rather unfortunate problem of her bastard brood—but the love affair proves to be doomed from the get-go, at least as far as biology as concerned, as the hunky hero fails to even get a hard-on after a hot and heavy foreplay session that occurs at the end of the film. Indeed, it seems that too much pornography and poontang has left the once perennially potent protagonist impotent, at least when it comes to women that he actually loves. In short, sex has become nothing more than an impulsive bodily function like defecation for Michael and everything has turned to shit.  In short, free love is far from free, or so the hapless protagonist learns after more or less losing his soul in a sea of semen-sucking skanks.  As to the character's rather quick rise and fall, Camille Paglia might have been onto something when she argued in Sexual Personae (1990), “Ironically, sexual success always ends in sagging fortunes anyhow. Every male projection is transient and must be anxiously, endlessly renewed. Men enter in triumph but withdraw in decrepitude. The sex act cruelly mics history's decline and fall.”

 One of the things I find most intriguing about cinema, especially old and/or foreign cinema, is its ability to act as a sort of virtual time-machine and express the fears, obsessions, trends, and zeitgeist of a particular era. Of course, not like an ancient cathedral, great cinema as created by master auteurs like Dreyer and Bergman was clearly made to stand the test of time but such timeless cinematic works are few and far between. Of course, this can certainly not be said of virtually all erotica, especially a film like Blue Movie, which was clearly made to cash-in on degenerate trends (if nothing else, producer de la Parra was a clever promotions man), hence why the film is almost forgotten today despite being technically one of the most (monetarily) successful Dutch films of all-time. Still, the film is more intriguing than I expected it to be, if not for oftentimes unintentional reasons, as it unwittingly exposes both the spiritual and sexual bankruptcy of so-called sexual liberation. After all, it is no coincidence that our so-called puritanical ancestors had more sex than we do despite the fact we apparently live in oh-so liberated and enlightened times.  Also, compared to a decidedly degenerate film like Just Jaeckin’s insultingly idiotic Emmanuelle (1974)—a film that is undeniably stylishly directed yet ultimately a disgustingly debauched piece of celluloid doo-doo that derives most of its false potency in its perpetual degradation of tragic Dutch diva Sylvia Kristel—Blue Movie is much maturer and realistic in terms of its message. Indeed, whereas Jaeckin’s unintentional celluloid joke literally basks in cuckoldry and attempts to pass off Sapphic sex as the height of hipdom, Verstappen’s surprisingly whimsical quasi-sexploitation flick completely demystifies the entire sexual liberation (pseudo)ethos and hints at how the ostensible sexual utopia would lead to a degenerate dystopia. Indeed, leave it up to the Dutch to create a fuck flick that features figurative finger-wagging about fuck flicks and a both literally and figuratively anticlimactic climax where the Michael’s flaccid pecker becomes the sort of viscerally pathetic anti-star of the protagonist's own worst nightmare; or, in short, the perils of metaphysically-induced castration anxiety and impotence.

When it comes down to it, Blue Movie is, in many ways (and probably mostly unintentionally), an insanely aesthetically grotesque film that absolutely epitomizes everything that was obscenely ugly about early-1970s clothes, hair, and fashion styles, which is rather fittingly as these gratingly inane ingredients help to (unwittingly) underscore the equally inane ideas of the singularly deleterious ‘save the whales and kill the babies’ generation. In fact, the visuals of the film have aged just as poorly as the odiously sensually overzealous zeitgeist that it so vividly (and, somewhat surprisingly, viscerally) depicts. Notably, the Cult Epics blu-ray of the film includes an interview with Blue Movie lead Hugo Metsers’ son Hugo Metsers Jr.—himself an actor that also happens be the son of avant-garde filmmaker Maartje Seyferth (Venus in Furs, Crepuscule)—and it is somewhat incriminating in terms of revealing the effects that the Dutch porn generation had on its children. Among other things, Metsers recalls a somewhat traumatic childhood experience where he randomly encountered Blue Movie at the mere age of 10 on pirate television while at a friend's house and it devastated him so much that he instantly ran home and cried in his bed. In fact, Metsers describes his childhood as “lonely” due to his parents' careerist self-absorption and sums up the sexual revolution era as being “chaos” for him, which probably explains why he has lived a somewhat disastrous personal life that includes two failed marriages.

Despite technically being the fifth biggest native Dutch box office hit of all-time and demonstrating that sex—even marvelously mundane sex involving floppy flaccid cocks—certainly sells, Blue Movie also confirms that most pussy gets pretty old pretty fast, hence the relative obscurity of the film today (and why it makes a worthy release for the vintage Euro erotica nostalgists at Cult Epics).  Although Verstappen would go on to direct other erotically-charged material like Alicia (1974), quite unlike his pal-cum-partner Pim, he eventually demonstrated he was a somewhat eclectic filmmaker and would greatly mature with age as revealed by his largely genital-less aeronautical affair Dakota (1974) and rather unconventional Dutch Resistance flick Pastorale 1943 (1978). Indeed, as the sagely Peter Cowie noted in his text Dutch Cinema (1979), Pastorale 1943 was “his most successful from a critical point of view” and that “Verstappen formed with de la Parra one of the most significant partnerships in modern Dutch films, and there is a clearly discernible maturity about his later work.” As for Blue Movie producer Pim de la Parra, he would confirm certain unfavorable racial stereotypes by continuing to direct artless smut, including Wan Pipel (1976) aka One People which, aside from being the first feature ever made in the director’s homeland of Suriname, depicts a miscegenation-based bizarre love triangle between a negro, white Dutch woman, and brown Hindu broad. While Pim has revealed certain Godardian pretenses with his debut feature De Minder gelukkige terugkeer van Joszef Katus naar het land van Rembrandt (1966) aka The Not Too Happy Return of Joszef Katus to the Land of Rembrant and even later works like Paul Chevrolet and the Ultimate Hallucination (1985), he never quite achieved the artistic prowess of Wim and can be seen today as a sort of slightly more serious ‘Dutch’ equivalent to Lloyd Kaufman in terms of degenerate schlock influence and curious combination of undeniable likeability and would-be-chic sleaze. As Cowie rightly noted when comparing the producer-cum-director to his former partner Wim, “Pim de la Parra’s successes as a director have been more modest. He is primarily a catalyst, a centre of ceaseless energy and ideas for other to put into practice.”  In that sense, he can certainly be seen as a sort of secondary auteur of Blue Movie, which makes for a good double feature with de la Parra's own sardonically salacious Swinging Amsterdam flick Frank & Eva (1973) also starring Hugo Metsers and featuring Sylvia Kristel in her debut film role.

For being an early fuck flick that even predates the ‘porn chic’ trend sparked by Gerard Damiano’s obscenely overrated Deep Throat (1972), Blue Movie is ultimately strikingly prophetic, especially terms of its ending, as porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED) is apparently a serious problem among a lot of modern-day young men as pornography can change the way a man’s brain reacts to sexual arousal.  In other words, pornography is not only largely pathetic, but can also result in sexual retardation, as if the touch and smell of a real woman has been completely neutralized by poorly directed images of a labia-less lady with giant silly silicone tits being blacked by some beefy bro named Tyrone.  Indeed, before porn even became completely vogue in the Occident, Verstappen’s prick-filled flick deconstructed the porn myth of the daredevil dick and really underscored the true pathetic persuasion of porn and the so-called sexual revolution. In that sense, Blue Movie totally transcended any sort of expectations that I had for it (which were admittedly somewhat low). I certainly cannot deny that the film reminded me that the only way to not feel like an emasculated loser while watching porn is if you’re doing it for ‘aesthetic’ reasons (e.g. experiencing true classics like Jonas Middleton’s truly singular hardcore horrorgasm Through the Looking Glass (1976)) and/or in the company of a girl you are about to fuck. Also, there’s something supremely cucked, if not downright gay, about watching some random coke-addled ‘performer’ plow some superlatively silly silicone-powered thot’s well-worn HPV-positive vade-mecum with his extra veiny Viagra-ridden ramrod, but then again I am the sort of guy that cannot help but be reminded of Der Stürmer when I see Ron Jeremy and can only speculate as to how any non-retarded man could find someone as intrinsically plastic and grimy as Jenna Jameson to be extremely sexually desirable.

Of course, most young guys are not going to think of such things and it is no coincidence that the protagonist of Blue Movie is a fairly normal unthinking dude that never considered that there might be some negative aspects to ‘free love’ as he is innately irrational due to being perpetually high on hormones, hence the truly pernicious character of the sexual liberation movement and the rather grotesque and uniquely unsexy virtual gargoyles like Reich and Marcuse that provided the pseudo-philosophical framework to unleash it on Christian Europe.  Speaking of psychoanalytic quacks, not unlike goy Jung with his former kosher mentor Freud, Wim did not really evolve and become an interesting filmmaker with his own distinct voice until after dropping Pim and rejecting a simply sex-obsessed approach to the medium.  After all, Europe did not become great embracing sexual gratification but by deferring it, hence the absurdity of describing sexually degenerate ideas as ‘progressive’ when they are literally and quite unequivocally the opposite.  After all, compare the post-Christian cinematic art of Wim and Pim to the countless great painters (and artists in general) of Dutch Christendom. Indeed, I do not think that it is an exaggeration to say that there's more dark erotic intrigue in a small fragment from a painting by Old Dutch Masters like Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel the Elder than there is in all of the films of Wim and Pim combined. Additionally, Wim and Pim's approach to the romantically lewd seems rather retarded when compared to one of Godfried Schalcken's more subversive chiaroscuro paintings like ‘A Man Offering Gold and Coins to a Girl,’ but that is exactly why Blue Movie is worth seeing as it painfully, if not playfully, highlights the twilight of Dutch Kultur and spirituality in an almost hypnotically crude fashion.

-Ty E