Posted by: Gregoryno6 | July 17, 2012

The substance of a whispering imposter: Rev 2012 in review.

As my week of leisure draws to its inevitable conclusion, I

Damn. Sorry, but the question has to be asked. Why ‘inevitable’?

WHY?

Is it too much to ask that an unknown wealthy relative should die and leave me their fortune? Or even half their fortune?

Apparently so. Thanks for nothing, destiny, and just for the record I could live in luxury as happily as the next man. Even if the next man was Mahatma Gandhi. It wouldn’t be a problem. Honestly, it would not.

Okay. Start over…

As my week of leisure draws to its inevitable close, it’s time to nominate my favourites at the 2012 Revelation Film Festival. No denying it, Richard and Jack and the crew have done it once again. An excellent assortment of features, shorts and documentaries. With a couple of items that resist easy categorisation – hope you enjoyed your visit to Perth, Crispin Glover.

I opted for two 4-movie passes this year. The first disappeared in a day and a half; after the Animation Showcase on Friday night, I had The Substance, The Imposter and Rampart on Saturday. Substance profiled Albert Hoffman, the Swiss scientist who discovered LSD when working with ergot fungus in 1943. As a Revaholic from the beginning* I found it a fascinating counter to Timothy Leary’s Dead, which Richard screened back in the days when Rev was presented in the basement of His Majesty’s Theatre.

Hoffman and Leary were polar opposites. Hoffman saw the potential benefits of LSD but also realised it had the power to damage the unwary. His collaborators in Europe employed the drug under strict clinical conditions. Leary, in both movies and in his autobiography Flashbacks, comes across as a suppressed rebel who got his chance and ran with it. LSD was his two fingered salute to The Establishment. When Hoffman learnt that Leary was distributing LSD like candy he cut off the supply. Leary’s chemist supporters began making their own.

Hoffman was some time past his centenary when interviewed for this film – he eventually died at 102 – but was clear and coherent and in full charge of his faculties. Which is more than can be said of Leary, who died at 76. Timothy Leary’s Dead took footage from two interviews about 20 years apart. The decline from jovial counter-culture hero to bug-eyed self parody was stark, and a less than glowing advertisement for Leary’s notorious ‘turn on, tune in, and drop out’.

Took a load of drugs, did time, laid a few babes… now I’m gonna die and have my head cut off.

The Call of Cthulhu, the first film from The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, was an honourable return to the days of silent film. But even the past has to move with the times, and sound was employed for The Whisperer in Darkness.

Whisperer very effectively recreated the mood of the early black and white horror movies from Universal. Although I doubt that the studio heads of the past would have approved the ending here. And I can’t really say any more about this without giving the story away. It’s not likely to turn up on free to air television, but look for it at your local arthouse video hire.

A doc that probably will get a showing on the small screen is The Imposter. This was for me the best of Rev: a labyrinth of loss and deception, a true story wherein the final truth about Nicholas Barclay is never uncovered. Nicholas disappeared from his Texas home in 1994. In 1997 his family received a phone call: Nicholas had been found, in Spain.

‘Nicholas’ was in fact a French conman and petty thief who had bluffed the boy’s name out of a missing persons bureau. He bore no physical resemblance to Nicholas, and expected that he would be in jail five minutes after the Barclays laid eyes on him. They embraced him like the long lost son and brother they wanted him to be. Experts interviewing ‘Nicholas’ about his lost years quickly began to suspect fraud. The family ignored their warnings. Their self-deception defies common sense until a private investigator enters the story – and the need to fill the void left by a vanished child becomes altogether more sinister.

Click image for a review at Entertainment Weekly.

There was one film I didn’t see that I maybe should have. The Sheik and I was made by Caveh Zahedi, whose I Am A Sex Addict featured a few years ago. I don’t remember the film so much as the young lady who sat down behind me. The lights were dimming when this total stranger leant forward and asked me ‘Why are you here to see this?’ That got a conversation rolling which continued in the foyer afterwards. Sad to report I never saw her again.

*Two people only have been to every Rev since it began, and I still haven’t met the other guy face to face.

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Responses

  1. This my friend, is one hell of a damn fantastic post. Bravo!

    • Coming from someone who doesn’t talk a lot about movies himself, that’s a real compliment. Thanks, JP.

      • Why thank you, good sir.

  2. Nice work all around.

    I always thought “The Whisperer” was one of Lovecraft’s best stories. It’d be cool to see it on the big screen.

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    • They take liberties with the story in places, but it’s still got that Lovecraft creepiness.

  3. O/T but since you seem to have a bit of spare time, listen to this via the Bunyip.

    http://www.2gb.com/index2.php?option=com_newsmanager&task=view&id=13667

    • This story just isn’t going to disappear… perhaps Jooolya should try sitting on it.


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