Jan 12, 2013
Call me heartless, but in my experience, autistic people have easily been some of the most blatantly depraved and morally bankrupt people I ever met, including a childhood classmate who eventually hogtied, raped, and slit the throat of his cousin, an adopted Colombian toddler who kept babbling on about cutting off angel heads and setting their holy bodies on fire, and a nearly thirty year old virgin fanboy with a virtual army of action figures who would spontaneously start kissing and feeling up girls that had enough empathy to actually talk to him, so naturally I was quite intrigued when I discovered the infamous Belgian arthouse film Vase de Noces (1974); a wonderfully wacked-out gritty black-and-white cinematic work without dialogue (and only dissonant and disarraying score) about an autistic farmboy with a perverse proclivity towards porking and 'wedding' a pig on a post-apocalyptic farm with no other humans in site. Best known as The Pig Fucking Movie among sick cinephiles everywhere, Vase de Noces directed by Belgian auteur Thierry Zéno is generally called Wedding Trough under its English title, as well as One Man and His Pig and Der Hochzeitstrog in German, but until relatively recently, only a miniscule number of moviegoers even knew about this film, let alone had seen it, but like a lot of ostensibly obscure cinematic works, the internet has given this sometimes sardonic swine skin flick a rebirth of sorts. Oftentimes described as “one of the most obscure movies that is not a lost film,” Vase de Noces was recently unearthed by both a German and Swedish distributor, thus making the seedy swine sex flick readily available for those individuals who know how to find such films, thereupon somewhat demystifying this holy grail of horrid hog-humping in the process to some extent. Admittedly, I had next to nil interest in watching a scatological swine flick about a half-retarded fellow fornicating and falling in love with a piggy and only until relatively recently – out of sheer boredom – did I get around to seeing it so as to scratch it off my mental list of infamous cinematic works that tests one's psyche to a particularly penetrating, if not superficially perverse level. Now, I can safely say that Vase de Noces belongs in the same incendiary idiosyncratic category of low-budget aberrant arthouse work as Jörg Buttgereit’s Nekromantik (1987), Pig (1999) directed by Rozz Williams and Nico B., and Marian Dora's The Angel’s Melancholia (2009) aka Melancholie Der Engel; as a work too artsy fartsy for the average horror fan/gorehound and too extreme for the average granola-bar-nibbling arthouse poof. A phantasmagorical rite between autistic pervert and a sweet swine, Vase de Noces rightfully earned an X-rating despite being an arthouse flick and was initially banned in the outback, until director Thierry Zéno was able to convince the censor board of the film’s anti-erotic esoteric merit, only to be banned again.
The fellow simply credited as the “Farmer” (played by Dominique Garny) in Vase de Noces has a lot of problems. Aside from being what seems like the last man in the world in some desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland where only farm animals seem to have survived, he is also autistic (as described by director Zéno), so although he has no more problems with disturbing people with his seemingly retarded and unhinged behavior now that everyone is gone, he is no better communicating with animals, hence his positively perverse proclivity for affixing doll-heads onto pigeons and chasing a pig around as if he wants to do something unsavory with the sow, which he most certainly eventually does. On top of being a pig man, the fucked feces-fondling farmer is a scat-man as well and certainly a fellow who does not allow any part of an animal to go to waste, including animal reproductive systems. A protrusive pig porker, the farmer somehow manages to get his miss piggy pregnant, thereupon siring a collective of three cute little piglets, but the fellow is certainly not father material, thereupon leading into the most swinish of consequences akin to a ham holocaust via pig sty hanging. An inquisitive autistic fellow who will try anything just to find out the consequences, the frantic Farmer is always literally and figuratively digging into something, but the only thing he seems to ultimately discover, aside from how soothing flying a kite can be, is death and defection: waste (with his idol existence being the biggest of biological junk). A pathological partaker in coprophagia cuisine, which is ironic since the ancient Chinese used to feed pigs human feces and garbage (the “Pig Toilet” which is still used today the Indian state of Goa), the Farmer finds himself turning more and more like a common swine as he realizes that his piglets have an incapacity for taking on human characteristics as his autism won't allow him to comprehend. In the end, the frightened farmboy does what many most frightened failures of fathers do. Needless to say, I would not recommend Vase de Noces to fans of Babe (1995) or even the darker sequel Babe: Pig in the City (1998), as this obscure little arthouse work will remind, at least to some extent, the price one must pay to eat bacon and then some, as the Farmer loves his sexy swine with a side of saucy shit.
By no means as depraved and daunting as one would assume knowing the film’s fiercely foul subject matter, Vase de Noces will more likely than not bore those views just looking for sensual sow sensationalism. As explained by director Thierry Zéno in the documentary Of Pigs and Men (2009), one of the greatest influences for Vase de Noces was Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (1968), which is no surprise considering the gay Marxist Italian Renaissance man was known for his use of rather grotesque and sensational semiotic techniques. Zéno cites the pig as a quite sweet symbol of femininity and the Farmer’s feces feasting as a sick sort of atavistic awakening and an absurdly anomalous attempt at athanasia via alchemy. That being said, Vase de Noces may be the most seemingly unpretentious, pretentious film ever made, thereupon making it mandatory viewing for any venturesome cinephile, but probably not the sort of filmgoer who would describe Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960) as one of their top ten favorite films, nor the sort that would describe Wes Anderson as one of the greatest contemporary arthouse directors nor George A. Romero the king of horror, but someone looking for a new pile of celluloid pieces. Essentially, like A Boy and His Dog (1975) meets Eraserhead (1977) meets Nous étions un seul homme (1979) aka We Were One Man, Vase de Noces is certainly a decidedly diacritic cinematic work and not just because it features a socially retarded reject porking Miss Piggy, but because it also features an audacious antagonistic and antithetical atmosphere that does the opposite of what most films are supposed to do: embarrass the viewer, at least if one does not happen to suffer from autism nor Asperger syndrome. With a warped score that sounds strikingly similar to the one from the PBS children’s TV-series Reading Rainbow (1983-2006), albeit had it been played by a schizophrenic science fiction fan with an unhealthy addiction to synthesizers, Vase de Noces is a hard film to take literally, but a wholly worthwhile one if one is interested in getting lost in a colorless celluloid pandemonium of pig-and-poop based pathology.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 12:27 AM
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