Jul 4, 2012
Sophisticated and worthwhile fairy flicks are doubtlessly hard to come by because – let’s face it – miniature flying nymphs are mostly of interest to little girls and sexually frustrated middle-aged wiccans and not many other people. The conspiring female fays on HBO’s True Blood are somewhat tolerable due to their seductive sex appeal, but their baroque male counterparts certainly put to shame those real-life effete estrogen-driven fellows who feel it is a bold political statement to wear nothing but pink thongs at homo-rights parades. Additionally, the sort of little winged imps featured in the British film Photographing Fairies (1997) directed by Nick Willing are about as appealing as CGI fireflies due to their miniscule size, lack of character, and seemingly asexual nature. It was not until I saw the Belgian arthouse-exploitation short The Bloodthirsty Fairy (1968) aka La fée sanguinaire directed by Roland Lethem (La Ballade des amants maudits, In Memoriam Alfons Vranckx) that I felt I found the superlative and definitive fairy flick, albeit of the lavishly lecherous and preternatural avant-garde persuasion. As a student of early surrealist master filmmakers such as Jean Cocteau and Luis Buñuel and Japanese auteur directors like Seijun Suzuki and Ishirō Honda, Lethem is certainly a filmmaker with imperative and contradistinctive influences, thus his cinematic works are – quite unsurprisingly – strikingly singular and ostensibly original accomplishments in a class all of their own. With the aesthetically and thematically merciless and incendiary poetic 15-minute short The Sufferings of a Ravaged Egg (1967) aka Les souffrances d'un oeuf meurtri (1967) – in a fashion worthy of Georges Bataille at the height of his demiurgic depravity – the Belgian auteur proved that maggots in postmortem vaginas make for sapient symbolic social commentary against the Catholic church. With his admittedly sometimes repetitive but undeniably hypnotic thaumaturgical 22-minute short Le Vampire de la Cinémathèque (1971), Lethem turned his camera on fellow Belgian physician and mathematician Joseph Plateau’s 1832 invention of the phenakistoscope (an early animation device made from a spinning disk) to create an optical illusion of an exquisite and statuesque lady degenerating into a hideous archetypical witch. Out of all of his curiously corporeal cinematic efforts, The Bloodthirsty Fairy seems to be his most erotically potent yet venomously vulgar, as well as politically and thematically transgressive work. In short, Lethem's fairy tale makes the less-than-erotically-charged films of Richard Kern (You Killed Me First, Fingered) seem like failed pastiche experiments in softcore dandy dilettantism by comparison.
During the beginning of The Bloodthirsty Fairy, a relatively young intellectual who resembles a stereotypical late-1960s pretentious French leftist twat notices a barrel on his front doorstep that was recently delivered by two swarthy-looking hippie bastards. Upon opening the seemingly humdrum barrel, the man discovers a beauteous unclad woman submerged in water inside. Not long after making this particularly stunning discovery, the comely human-sized fairy without wings emerges from the barrel and begins performing beguiling gestures, much to the noticeably intrigued pundit's delight. In no time, the young intellectual finds himself turning into a hopeless romantic and impulsive philistine of sorts, giving the fairy sensual bubble bathes while gently massaging her feet in a dainty manner, but little does he know that his quasi-supernatural Madonna is a brassy black-hearted butcher in the spirit of the soulless darling from Hanns Heinz Ewers' Alraune with a keen and unquenchable addiction to politically-motivated bloodlust. On top of beating police to death in a most jubilant manner just for kicks and choking nuns into purgatory before finding her latest gentleman suitor as depicted in a series of flashbacks in The Bloodthirsty Fairy, the pitiless puck also has pernicious plans for her new infatuated Romeo. As someone who initially thought that Jörg Buttgereit made totally commensurately prodigious cinematic works, I think I have to change my assessment of the aberrant Aryan auteur after discovering the works of Roland Lethem, most specifically The Bloodthirsty Fairy. Packed with equal doses of iconoclastic beauty and brusque yet seemingly comical brutality, The Bloodthirsty Fairy – much like the works of blond beast Buttgereit – is a rare work that can be enjoyed by both thoroughly desensitized/deranged gorehounds and adventurous arthouse cinema addicts.
The Bloodthirsty Fairy also features a political subtext that was somewhat lost on me due to my version of the Belgian film’s lack of English subtitles. Essentially, the perturbed member-dismembering pixie seems to be a lone wolf anarchist (another possible nod to Bataille) of sorts as she collects the castrated cocks of famous/infamous assassinated political leaders ranging from Civil Rights Christ Martin Luther King, Jr. to American Nazi Party Führer George Lincoln Rockwell (whose Aryan-American member is noticeably uncircumcised) to apartheid-advocating South African Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd. Unfortunately, the genital-gnawing fairy was unable to eunuchize Henry Kissinger, thus his special kosher Johnson jar remains empty, but one must admit that this fierce fay has quite the eclectic and prestigious political penis pile!
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 10:40 PM
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