Sunday, February 05, 2017

NEITHER THE SUN NOR DEATH CAN BE LOOKED AT STEADILY


The 40th Portland International Film Festival kicks off this week, and my friend Nick Bruno has curated an inspired program of independent films for his sidebar series PIFF After Dark. As the title cleverly implies, these are films that might best be described as "post-horror," with moody existential themes and artsy fartsy angst presiding (cue the digital filter that makes everything look like an overcast car commercial). The title also refers to the fact that these films don't get started until 10:30pm, which is an ideal time to poke yourself in the third eye while drinking beer in the dark. The razor blade party really gets started with a ghastly shudder on night two, Saturday February 11th, with Emiliano Rocha Minter's depraved and beautiful Tenemos La Carne, a.k.a. We Are The Flesh (2016), a post-apocalyptic atrocity exhibition of incest, necrophilia and cannibalism that is loosely strung together with sparse haiku-like subtitles. Something of an inverted parable of the Garden of Eden, this Mexican mindfuck features full penetration and a POV fellatio scene worthy of Jodorowsky that caused my penis to retract into my gut. For the less savage of heart, Without Name (2016) is a milder eldtritch fairytale set in a primeval Irish forest where the trees are decidedly not what they seem. Director Lorcan Finnegan's brooding mystery unfolds as if someone replaced the third reel of Hour of the Wolf with The Secret Life of Plants (sans Stevie Wonder), and exemplifies the sort of genre-bending experimentation that makes this entire series so fun. There hasn't been a better reason to wallow in the splendor of the Bagdad Theater in a long time. Buy your tickets and blow your mind!