Dec 10, 2012


Undoubtedly, Dutch auteur filmmaker Edwin Brienen (Viva Europa!, Revision - Apocalypse II) has come a long way since the release of his first feature-length film Terrorama! (2001) – a sensory deranging digital diarrhea explosion of raunchy rape, unsentimental sacrilege, nasty nihilism, sick sex, and philosophical terrorism – because although the film won “Best film” at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival and earned actress Esther Eva Verkaaik “best leading actress” at the Toronto Independent Film Festival, the film also cemented the director’s reputation as an erratic enfant terrible; a title he still retains and seems to wallow in today. Unlike most filmmakers, Brienen – who studied philosophy and psychology (two forms of study that are probably infinitely more important for a serious filmmaker than actual film studies) before working as a radio host at the ripe of 22 years old, as well as an underground television actor/director, including collaborating on the shows Buch, Burgers & Buitenlui and Hoe Hoort het Eigenlijk? with Theo van Gogh (great-grandson son of art dealer Theo van Gogh, the brother of artist Vincent van Gogh) – went all the way with his first feature, showing that his childhood viewings of Andy Warhol and John Waters certainly paid-off in the long run in his development into a libertine artist. A rare filmmaker that is equally inspired by the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Claude Chabrol, alongside aberrant auteur filmmakers like Alberto Cavallone (Man, Woman and Beast, Blue Movie) and revolutionary pornographers like Gerard Damiano (Deep Throat, Splendor in the Ass), Terrorama! certainly reveals its director’s eclectic influences, but it is also transcends its subversive but oftentimes outmoded cinematic predecessors, thereupon painting an innately scathing and unprepossessing portrait of postmodern Netherlands, as well as Europe as a whole. Centering around a sextet of sick, sexually perverted and seemingly psychopathic nihilists from the Netherlands who have the bright and bold idea of kidnapping a well-known TV host RAF-style in the shallow hope of eradicating what little is left of the Occident’s traditional social norms and morals, Terrorama!, as an aberrant arthouse piece, is ironically a work of aesthetic terrorism itself, not only in its obscene and ominous objective to visually and audibly offend, but also to 'philosophically enlighten' the viewer. In other words, Terrorama! – for better or for worse – makes the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini and Herbert Achternbusch seem overly sentimental and subdued by comparison. 

 Although often described as 'the Dutch Fassbinder', not least of all due to the prolific amount of films he has directed in such a short period of time, but unlike his kraut filmic hero, Edwin Brienen’s films, especially Terrorama!, rarely feature sympathetic or even remotely redeemable characters. While Fassbinder’s films generally feature characters that are trying to achieve some tangible, honest, or remotely respectable goal like maintaining their sanity or surviving a hapless love affair, Brienen’s are carefully constructed characters who are horribly hopeless and determinedly desolate degenerates of the hate-mongering and sexually depraved kind whose activities inevitably and quite more honestly (in comparison to Fassbinder’s) lead to some sort of self-annihilating transcendence, which is interesting when considering that Theo van Gogh – who was brutally assassinated by a Dutch-Moroccan Islamist due to his penetratingly provocative films and writings criticizing Islam – appears in Terrorama! reciting passages from the Koran while a curious couple bestially fucks in a car right behind him, hence why the scene was cut from the British release of film by the UK-based company Salvation Group after holding back the release for a number of years. Beginning with a performance of the sardonically titled song "Hitler Was A Speedfreak" by the swastika-draped band Johnny Cohen & The New Age Nazis – a sort of punk rock equivalent to Motörhead – Terrorama! establishes itself as a shamelessly and stoically subversive work right from the get go as the sort of sophisticated scat piece, not unlike the films of German auteur Christoph Schlingensief (The German Chainsaw-Massacre, United Trash), that would have more sensitive viewers walking out of the movie theater within mere minutes.

 Just in time for the holiday season, I felt a daunting dose of the Christmas spirit when I discovered that Terrorama! features the Dutch equivalent of Santa Clause, Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas), raping a bodacious babe doggy style as his Negro servant “Black Peter” (known as “Zwarte Piet” in the Netherlands) – played by a naked and pale honkey, aside from his blackface, nappy wig, and red lipstick – jovially jerks-off while in a state of absolute ecstasy in a significantly swinish scene of XXXmas joy. Needless to say, aside from being innately and unwaveringly politically incorrect, Terrorama! also features a variety of surreal pornographic imagery of the unsimulated sort. Personally, my favorite scene is where a slavish Jesus Christ, who drags a cross like a hobo carrying his raggedy bindle, is rejected by a handsome SS man that he hugs and embraces with pure love, thus inspiring him to subsequently masturbate and plant his spoiled seed into the grass. As for the film’s loose, but discernible plot, which involves six activist-nihilist psychopaths kidnapping and torturing a popular TV personality Gerard van Dongen (Michel van Dousselaere), one must admit and accept that Terrorama! is a work where the sum of parts are less important than the individual segments themselves. As the character Edwin (naturally, played by Edwin Brienen himself) emphatically pontificates in a patently unpopular political manner during one of the film's various candid pseudo-documentarian interviews, the group's credo to political philosophy is that: “Idealism is to be thrown overboard, it only causes disappointment. Otherwise you could goddamn join the Maoists, the communists, the neo-marxists…the whole fucking lot…self-interest, that’s what matters.” Indeed, in their homo-sado-mascohistic need to rape men in the throat, sexually and physically degrade melancholy women (Brienen’s leading lady Eva Dorrepaal has one hell of a time), gay-bash and throat-stomp euro-wigger misogynists, shoot-up heroin in between shooting spunk into their female compatriots' junk, and engaging in all-around deranged hedonistic debauchery, the tainted terrorists of Terrorama! must have taken the philosophies of Anton LaVey much too seriously.

Consumed with equal doses of nihilism and narcissism that are generated by a deep-seated resentment and a will-to-perverse-power, the curiously cruel Cyprian terrorists of Terrorama! are most confident in their objective to rule over others as especially underscored by character Edwin’s remark that, “People who are stupid or inferior and use violence, are not dangerous…They are harmless because you can eliminate them quickly. But as soon as violence meets intellect, society is warned!” In a sense, the film feels like a maniac manifesto for Nietzschean active-nihilism as one certainly gets the feeling that director Edwin Brienen – a student of philosophy and psychology himself – spent a lot of time dwelling on the intrinsically irrational ideas he depicts in Terrorama!, thus this mind-wrecking work certainly oftentimes feels like a therapeutic artistic execution of the filmmaker’s more dangerous and impractical fantasies.  I don't know about other people that have seen the film, but I doubt the characters featured in Terrorama! would fair well while incarcerated with Moroccan and Somalian philistines whose inborn Weltanschauung is to break, fuck, and kill. Ultimately, one never learns the actual outcome of the rebel rejects' criminal actions and the film concludes with one of the bat-shit beserk beauties stating the obvious with the closing remark: “nihilism is my middle name.” Indeed, much like Brienen’s subsequent works, Terrorama! is a striking and maniacal mélange of high and low art and a diabolically thoughtful work that argues for visceral action and self-indulgence over soulless novelty intellectualism of the Utopian humanistic sort, thereupon bringing more meaning than just plain superficial sensationalism to the fact that the terrorists adorn their humble hideout with a National Socialist swastika and Schutzstaffel flags. Although by no means racial chauvinists nor even racially conscious, these characters do reject – much like the National Socialists that preceded them – slave morality-driven liberalism and naïve calls for peace and progress and instead delight in Dionysian derangements of the mind and body.  That being said, maybe it is high time that the whole of the Occidental peoples heed these thoughtful words from Terrorama!: "Lick and smell the vaginal juices that smell of death."

-Ty E

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