Mar 24, 2012
When I first heard about the film Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh (1984), I instantly asked myself whether or not such a film could live up to its brilliant and brassy title. Clearly, a film entitled Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh must be a work of pretentious trash, and, of course, to my pleasurable discovery, it is; minus overly conceited and painfully pedantic mental masturbation. As someone who enjoys both trash cinema and artistically refined arthouse flicks, I always feel a bit blessed when I discover a rare cinematic breed like Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh; a work of aristocratic artistic degeneracy that follows in the grand out-of-step footsteps of alpha-art-fag Andy Warhol, William S. Burroughs, Paul Morrissey, and John Waters, but stands alone perfectly fine on its own two delightfully dotty celluloid feet. Written, directed, and starring Greek-Canadian junkie Demetri Estdelacropolis at age of 22 years old as a mere student film, Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh gained minor infamy when it was the only Canadian film screened at the 1984 Berlin Film Festival, henceforth presenting the most northern North American nation in an atypically perverse light. More psychosexually disturbing, hilarious, and downright strange than any of fellow Canadian auteur David Cronenberg’s films and more personally incriminating than anything ever directed by Winnipeg-Nord Guy Maddin (Tales from the Gimli Hospital, Brand Upon the Brain!) and Arabian-Canadian Karim Hussain (Subconscious Cruelty, The Beautiful Beast), Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh is a work ridiculously riddled with opaque elements of Estdelacropolis’s perturbed opium-seduced psyche and peculiar personal fixations. Estdelacropolis plays the cursedly fucked up ‘anti-hero’ Dimira aka Lucie, a gay porn star who, with every act of male sodomy he engages in, becomes further preoccupied with his equally warped mother Esther; a stocky wretched wench that is like a cross between Edith Massey (Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living) and Shelly Winters à la Curtis Harrington's What's the Matter with Helen? (1971) and Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971). It is apparent in the film that Esther is largely responsible for creating Dimira's self-destructive Jungian "shadow"; the unconscious part of the mind responsible for repressed and destructive instincts. Dimitra's Anima, the unconscious feminine psychological qualities of his mind, are also partly uncovered in the film. Mother's Meat & Freud's Flesh is essentially an unconventional experiment in psychoanalytic individuation as it is a work that attempts to bring light to (in the noble spirit of Lucifer) the more painful elements of the unconscious and decipher the filmmaker's 'true self'. In fact, director Demetri Estdelacropolis ends the film with the quaint, but fitting tribute "Dedicated to all of our mothers."
Demetri Estdelacropolis’ Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh could also be called Oedipus Wrecked and Retarded. As a charming chap tells the ever reluctant protagonist Dimira, "shut up, just accept the fact you’re a fag and hate women.” As one finds out while watching Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh, this chap is Dimira’s psychiatrist and he is soon trading roles and paying his porn star patient for anal physical therapy. Like Dr. Freud, the psychiatrist's theories seems to have more to do with the perversity of his own psyche than that of his patient's. Of course, Dimira has no time for women (aside from the occasional petrifying sexual encounter with a dildo-wielding porn starlet friend), as his obscenely pesky and putrid domineering mother does a spectacular job nagging him into oblivion. Any prospective viewer of Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh needs to be prepared for the fact that mother Esther brings a certain repellent (yet distinctly humorous) quality to the film that might inspire certain spectators to erupt violently during one of the many times when the horrid hag incessantly whines, “Dimira, Dimira, Dimira...." as she unabashedly dreams of bedding her homosexual son. Also, those individuals suffering from an acute case of castration anxiety might want steer totally clear of Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh as the film takes genital mutilation to generous extremes. Naturally, Dimira’s man-loving sexual aberrance is explained in quasi-Freudian terms, but in a manner that is more campy than clinical. Dimira, being the son of an exceedingly egging and mind-numbingly neurotic lady lunatic who lusts after her own male progeny, is repelled by all women as he associates them all with mommy dearest. Mother Esther may not be mentally perceptive enough to believe her own son is a flaming queen who buggers boys and plays with phallic sex toys, but she does claim to know how to spot an authentic transsexual by the size of their Adam’s apple. Structurally, Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh is a magnificent nonlinear mess that is comprised of eccentric slapdash scenes that mostly revolve around sexual deviancy, humorous 'soul-searching' existential isolationism, and pathetic personal crises. Despite its lack of plot, the film moves along quite fluidly and never wavers in the realm of vulgar artistic pretense, nor pseudo-intellectual banality, but it does feature a wealth of scatological imagery and themes, as well as a sordid buffet of bittersweet food-for-thought. Mother’s Meat & Freud’s is further accentuated by an exquisite soundtrack by the German New Wave group Trio. In both sight and sound, the film is ultimately a foremost work of avant-garde cinematic debauchery that features a number of quotable lines and ever-present replay value. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, it is nearly impossible to find a copy of Mother’s Meat & Freud’s on the internet, let alone in dvd form.
After completing Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh, it would take Demetri Estdelacropolis over fifteen more years to complete his second and only other feature Shirley Pimple in the John Wayne Temple of Doom (2000). As somewhat crudely explained in the Canadian documentary In the Belly of the Beast (2001), a work covering the Montreal-based Fantasia Film Festival over two years in 1997, Estdelacropolis never could 'kick the Chinaman all the way out', hence his lack of regenerative artistic productivity over the years. At the conclusion of In the Belly of the Beast, Estdelacropolis appears randomly on the deserted nighttime streets of Montreal looking like a white Rastafarian vagrant in a clear state of opium-induced stupefaction and rambles on somewhat pathetically about his films and fans. Needless to say, in the documentary, Estdelacropolis, both mind and body, barely resembles the fag chic porn star he played in his precariously honest autobiographical flick Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh. Maybe if Estdelacropolis had a lifelong trust fund like fellow homo heroin addict artiste William S. Burroughs, he would have had a much more fruitful career, but alas, Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh and Shirley Pimple in the John Wayne Temple of Doom are the audacious auteur filmmaker’s only cinematic offerings, yet they suffice. After all, a discordantly intimate and unceremonious film like Mother’s Meat & Freud’s Flesh is infinitely more important to me than the entire filmography of an artistically-compromising 'for hire' Hollywood hack like Christopher Nolan. Mother's Meat & Freud's Flesh is probably what Norman Bate's life would have resembled had he been a young adult in the early 1980s, given into to his sexual perversity, and been deterred by a grueling drug addiction. What amazes me the most about the film is that it was made nearly thirty years ago, yet it is now artistically vivid and kooky as ever. As a child, I greatly enjoyed quirky 1980s Brat Pack/John Hughes comedies like Weird Science (1985) and Pretty in Pink (1986), but such outdated films do nothing for me nowadays as an older and much more discerning viewer. Mother's Meat & Freud's Flesh most certainly fills the void of my youth as it is a stand alone achievement of truly demented, ribald, and idiosyncratic 1980s cinema. One can only hope that Estdelacropolis will get help and go on a methadone maintenance program as the now middle-aged junkie auteur probably has so many new (and much starker and discombobulated) stories to tell.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 12:48 AM
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