Jan 8, 2013

Super 8½

Named in terrible tongue-in-twink tribute to Italian maestro Federico Fellini’s autobiographical film-within-a-film 8 ½ (1963), the dead home movie film format that it was (at least in part) shot on, and the director’s much embellished yet nonetheless relished dick size, Super 8 ½: A Cautionary Bio-Pic (1994) directed by controversial Canadian homocore auteur Bruce LaBruce (The Raspberry Reich, Otto; or, Up with Dead People) is quite on odd choice for the filmic fairies’ second feature-length effort, especially so considering it is about an over-the-hill artsy fartsy pornographer (played by LaBruce himself), but then again it is a mockumentary, if not one grounded in wild and wanton truths. Although a semi-pornographic work starring LaBruce himself in the lead role as a fictional porn-star-turned-pretentious-arthouse-trash-auteur who is being interviewed for a documentary directed by a sleazy and less than seductive lesbo filmmaker, Super 8 ½ seems a tad bit tame, conspicuously cliché (even if that was the director's intention, which it most certainly was), and lacking aesthetic and thematic potency when compared to the filmmaker’s terribly technically incompetent yet undoubtedly uncompromising first feature-length film No Skin Off My Ass (1993) in it's iconoclastic fagdom. Parodying and referencing cinematic works ranging from Douglas Sirk’s classic Hollywood melodrama Written on the Wind (1956) to Andy Warhol’s Blue Movie (1969) aka Fuck to LaBruce’s own work No Skin Off My Ass, Super 8 ½ is essentially a caustic combo of movie trivia and man-meat masturbation as what amounts to a sort of anti-climatic and feeble fag-film-fanboy’s wet dream, but, unfortunately, if it were not for the filmmaker’s horrible (albeit, to some extent intentional) acting, it would be hard for someone to distinguish between the innate character of the real homocore auteur and the fiercely foul fellatio-based fantasies of his self-deprecating filmic alter-ego. Needless to say, Super 8 ½ is certainly no 8 ½, nor does LaBruce’s member seem even remotely the size the film’s title boasts, but one only needs to watch the superlatively shallow cinematic cesspool of cinematic sodomy to see that the eccentrically effete auteur is not kidding anyone, not even himself.

Until relatively recently with the aberrant advent of ‘gay rights’ identity politics and what have you, cocksuckers and carpet-munchers were generally arch-nemesis's of sorts and I assume on a personal level this is still the case today. Indeed, such is the case in Super 8 ½; a sod-saluting and Sapphic-smearing cinematic work where the women have a little too much testosterone and the males do not have enough. In Super 8 ½, Bruce LaBruce as “Bruce” goes ‘full fairy’ in his filmic farce where a prissy pansy of an ex-porn-star-turned-filmmaker candidly recollects his road to ruin as an audacious artistic ass-et to the transgressive arthouse underground realm for a bean-flicking femme-nazi documentary filmmaker who has nil qualms about exploiting the washed-up fagola pornographer. Needless to say, Bruce's pretensions towards being taken seriously as an auteur 'artiste' are laughable at best, but no one is laughing. Aside from featuring LaBruce as more or less himself, but to a more prolific, perilously pansified, and artistically distinguished degree, thereupon foreshadowing his career as prominent pole-smoking, porn-possessed queercore auteur, Super 8 ½ also includes a cameo from alt porn auteur Richard Kern (Submit to me Now, Detachable Penis) as himself playing a role in a fictional film where he sports a wretched wiry wig and strap-on dildo (apparently, due to too much heroin, he was unable to 'rise to the occasion'). Kern’s appearance is especially worthwhile and significant as many of LaBruce’s faux-films in Super 8 ½ seem like piss poor imitations of the NYC-based filmmaker’s preposterously poor, prosaic pornography. Also, like most of Kern’s films, Super 8 ½ is neither hardcore enough to be considered a boner-fide work of pornography, nor subversive enough to be considered truly ‘transgressive’ cinema, especially when compared with the films of its infinitely more cinematically-inclined erotic arthouse American and Euro-sleaze predecessors like Alberto Cavallone, Walerian Borowczyk, Tinto Brass, Radley Metzger, and Stephen Sayadian, among countless others. Of course, the main difference between the films of Cavallone and Brass in comparison with the likes of lavender cowboys LaBruce and Kern is that a sort punk/DIY aesthetic and philosophy permeates throughout the latter two filmmaker’s cinematic oeuvres. One learns while watching Super 8 ½ that ever since unexpectedly losing his interest in directing the tentatively titled work The Reluctant Pornographer aka Super 8 ½, Brucey’s life has lacked direction, film directing, and erections. Aside from getting in feeble fights with his skinhead/hustler ex-boyfriend and putting his clownish make-up on in an exceedingly dainty manner so as to make a spectacle of himself when in front of the camera, spruce Bruce’s life has been languishing in a lewd la la land of lecherous losers and lesbians; undoubtedly the same sordid sort that were also prominent in the subversive arthouse porn world he used to be a part of. A bitter and butch lesbo only makes his life all the more of a hellish homo hustler horror show, but he has nothing better to do anyhow as he has no plans to get a real job, let alone a blowjob.

How do you become a porn star? You blow; or so says the all but totally intolerable, twink-trotting terminal man-toddler protagonist of Bruce LaBruce’s second feature film. Easily LaBruce’s most lackluster and ultimately forgettable (and thankfully so) work to date, Super 8 ½ is certainly in no way worthy of being named in the same sentence as the Fellini masterpiece that, at best, only superficially inspired it at the most rudimentary level, but I guess that is what one would expect from a pomo homo flick directed by an auteur who knew more about fag film history than actual filmmaking when he conceived this completely convoluted and curiously uncurious cock-sucking celluloid abortion. Although similarly poorly directed and amateurishly gritty like his previous effort No Skin Off My Ass, LaBruce's Super 8 ½ lacks the rather risqué and thematically risky romantic spirit that permeated quite perversely yet playfully throughout his first feature. Even the fag-flaunting writers of Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video (1996) had to admit that Super 8 ½ is a “mild disappointment” and a “structural mess,” thereupon underscoring the lezzy documentarian featured in the futile film's words, “I don’t give a damn about continuity…any way.”  I also have to assume that LaBruce agrees as he seems to make little, if any, references to Super 8 ½ in interviews, but then again, the flop of a film also features the drug-addled auteur unclad in all his unglory, smoking poles and gracelessly baring his (then) scrawny ass for the weary world to see. After all, even Rosa von Praunheim has his limits and thankfully refraining from featuring himself in nothing but boots on an open highway is one of them. As the loveless lesbian filmmaker in Super 8 ½ states in regard to the dubious size of Bruce’s member as specified in the film's title, “It didn’t quite measure up to reality” and neither does LaBruce’s clearly ambitious yet erratically defecated, sorry scatological second feature.  If any of LaBruce's films merit a fanatical fag-bashing in retaliation for the filmmaker's less than fresh fruity filmmaking, it is unequivocally Super 8 ½; a sad cinematic work that proves that watching too many porn flicks can lead to a brutal case of brain damage and a serious identity crisis.

-Ty E

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

True, because you always feel so jealous of the lucky bastard whos got his knob stuck up the gorgeous birds bum.