Rev has always been about the Others – the skewed, peculiar, funny bits of cinema. Presenting those find-a-neat-category-for-me-I-dare-you exercises has characterized Revelation from its beginnings.
This year, though, the Others seemed even more, well, Othery than usual.
Emma Eisner, blue hair intact, made a welcome return after last year’s Will I Scatter Away? with Cold War Christmas – a family reminiscence about leaving Czechoslovakia and its secret police, and moving to America. A mini-documentary as it were, combining photos with offscreen narration. In recent tweets Miss E has shown herself hard at work on her next feature. See you in 2017, Emma!
The Whispering Star is as much Movie as it is Other. But it has a subdued detached manner, and a landscape that makes it more meditation than entertainment. The reviewer on the Rev website was reminded of Under The Skin. I was reminded of The American Astronaut – the main characters both travel in odd-looking spaceships, and are charged with delivering goods to faraway destinations. The Whispering Star follows Yoko (Megumi Kagurazaka), a feminine android who travels interplanetarily to deliver parcels to humans. The deliveries are odd bits and pieces for the most part; the stuff that we accumulate in the back corners of our cupboards and drawers. Much of the filming was done in the Fukushima region. The landscape is empty and serene even though it still bears the chaotic scars of the tsunami.
Producer Takeshi Suzuki was in attendance and graciously answered questions through a translator after the screening. He discussed the risks of taking the film crew into the Fukushima region, and explained that writer/director Sion Sono had first conceived the idea for this movie about twenty years ago. That was in response to my query about odd-looking spaceships, which I hope was not translated as ‘Didn’t you bastards rip that idea off Cory McAbee?’
Rev 2016 presented two Others as a double-feature World Premiere. In Passion of V, Korean teenager Hoon dreams of a visit by Young-ee, who is one of the Guardians of the Earth. Humanity is threatened! A menace approaches! Hoon recruits his new buddies Kick-Ass and Sailor Girl to help him activate and pilot TaeKwon V, a huge robot which is locked away in a government building. And protected by lots of bad guys with deficient shooting skills. It’s a live action blend of Prince Planet and Sailor Moon, with a dash of Gigantor added. If you don’t recognize those names, you’re too young to be going to Revelation anyway.
Passion of V came from David Seok Hoon Boo. I have hazy recollections of meeting David in the Rev Bar and behaving like a slightly inebriated fan. Also present were Pat Tremblay and Laurent Lecompte, who chose Perth as the place from which to launch Atmo HorroX upon an unsuspecting world.
Laurent describes making movies as ‘therapeutic’. Having seen Atmo HorroX, I felt myself that I needed some therapy. As did quite a few other people around Perth!
Atmo HorroX is a difficult movie to describe. Happy people go about their lives in utter ignorance of the bizarre life forms that are popping up. They become less happy as they rely more on the products of modern civilisation. Here’s the official website synopsis:
Through a very surreal chase of spying and surveillance, Catafuse, a dubiously dressed “creature”, hunts down specific human targets with the help of Molosstrap. But in a world completely run by the shadowy hands of the pharmaceutical industry, the lines of reality become so blurry and complex, that the mastering of insanity might just be the only way out…
And that’s Laurent up there, in case you hadn’t figured it out. Catafusing all over this great metropolis. After the screening Pat and Laurent offered themselves for Q and A. I asked if they’d had trouble in suburbia filming a man who had his genitals covered with just a few balloons. They had had only one complaint, Pat revealed, and that was from the lady whose driveway they were blocking. Folks are pretty broadminded in that part of the world!
These two gents delivered a shipload of weird. Many thanks unto them, and may their return to Rev not be long delayed.
But Revelation’s Others weren’t all international acts. Hairy Soul Man, come on down!
What were Mr and Mrs Man were smoking when they named their newborn baby boy? Given the dark tale he tells in How Deep Can I Go? I thought it better not to ask. This one has it all: dual personas, stalking, dismemberment, and malicious minions. A suburban circle of hell, presided over by the Man himself. Impeccably dressed, reclining in his lounge, he croons to his latest victim – leaping into wild-eyed frenzy for the chorus.
I ran into HSM several times over the course of the Festival. He is truly as industrious as Jeffrey Dahmer, if not as actually homicidal. Hairy Soul Man was scribbling notes constantly. Laying the plans for his next moving-cardboard escapade. I can’t wait.
Bring on 2017!