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Lost City

Mayhem Film Festival 2013 - Day Two

3 November 13 words: Mayhem
The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, Delivery, and Discopath were the evening's treats.
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The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears

The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears: Broadway Cinema's Mayhem Film Festival was in full swing this weekend, showing a vast variety of sub-genres and nationalities. The first film to shown on the Friday evening was the giallo-influenced French horror The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears from creative duo Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani. Let it be said that attempting to make cohesive narrative sense out of such a film will be a fruitless, frustrating task for many. A psychedelic mishmash of the grotesque and the ornamental, the film appears to involve the disappearance of a businessman's wife, and his search for her through the apartment building where they live. This is a fairly arbitrary framework for utter aural and visual insanity, the locus of which is a havoc-wreaking, shape-shifting woman with terrifying sexual prowess and a propensity for straight razors.

Much of the film takes place in the art nouveau interior of the building they occupy. Its turn of the century architecture, painted glass, and ornately patterned wallpapers are seemingly infused with malice and witchery. A particular ‘beneath the wallpaper’ sequence is claustrophobically terrifying; the setting truly becomes a suffocating, maddening nightmare space. The building itself doubles back on itself deceivingly. Any traditional filmic conception of visual space, ellipsis of time, or dream sequences must be forgotten.

The remarkable, avant-garde sound design is almost sensually preoccupied with the sounds of sinew and flesh splitting under blades, vinyl sliding against skin, zips unzipping, glass breaking, sighs, screams, and moans; a cacophony of teeth-clenching noise. There is a fixation on eyes, with parallelism between pupils dilating and camera lenses focusing; the act of looking is deceptive and horrifying. Obsessive visual motifs litter the film; long hair, black, tentacle-like tendrils of it, shown repetitively as well as muscles straining, veins, sutures, leather, breasts, blades, and red vinyl.  As these motifs repeat and meld into one another, they form a sort of internal logic, a pattern singularly unique to the film.

Post-giallo, Post-Godard, Strange Colour pushes the boundaries of radical non-narrative form, welcoming the beautifully rendered chaos of pure sensory experience. Christina Newland.

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Delivery: Having been informed by Chris and Steven that the director, Brian Netto, was flying in from America and was very interested in the audience’s reaction to a specific scene, my interest was piqued. I made the right choice in resisting the urge to look into details about the film, therefore no spoilers from me. You need to watch it for yourself.

A young married couple, Rachel and Kyle Massey, are about to have their first baby and have agreed to be part of a reality TV show to document the whole affair from early pregnancy to birth. The film tells us from the get go that Rachel dies and the film is an edit of all the hours of raw footage to try and explain what exactly happened during Rachel’s pregnancy.

The first act of the film is the first episode of the said show and it’s a spot-on imitation; the camera work, the editing, the cheesy music and the dialogue was all so good it could have been real. The second act of the film is the raw footage laid out in a documentary style with expert testimonials interspersed. Strange events start to occur such as break ins, interference on the footage and unusual behaviour, and we see the couple go from over the moon to strained. The producer’s emphasis is that something supernatural is occurring, but Rachel’s mental state is also in question. The third act of the film steps everything up a gear as Rachel enters her third trimester, emotions escalate and no-one is happy. And then, the ending.

Nope, we’re definitely not saying. I can only imagine that Netto got the reaction he was hoping for because I don’t think anyone in the audience expected the final scene. There are comparisons to Rosemary’s Baby but Delivery is no lazy re-rendering and is an almost perfectly executed film. Don’t be put off by the ‘found footage’ tag, this film is head and shoulders above its genre peers. Ali Emm.

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Discopath: Let’s be honest, who at some point in their life hasn’t wanted to strangle a DJ for playing Chic - Le Freak for the fourth time in a night? Granted, although disco can sometimes be a trying musical genre, it probably won’t lead many of us to actually act upon those emotions and become a serial killer, but I suppose it does lend a certain level of empathy to the main protagonist of Discopath.

After being fired from his job as a fry-chef, Jeremie, played by Duane Lewis, is taken to his first ever club with a roller skating beauty. Unfortunately, the far out sounds bring back memories of his father’s death - by turntable - and turns him into a killing machine.

Terrified by his actions, Jeremie flees to Montreal and takes up the position of school caretaker, resisting the temptation of the kids’ crazy music by wearing earpieces which block out the sound of music. However, one fateful day Jeremie hears the sound of two students making out to some disco, which sets of a chain of foul murder and disgusting disfigurement, including killing by 45s, which is probably one of the most creative deaths I’ve ever seen. There is also the best use of strobe lighting in a death scene, or possibly even any film, ever. Lewis is both hilarious and terrifying as the disco-hating protagonist and the police present us with a hilarious take on inept B-movie heroes. 

Although the scene is set in seventies New York, where the people have the strangest accents you’ve ever heard - this could possibly be attributed to the film being shot in Canada meaning all of the apple eaters are in fact Canadians with very dodgy accents. As the film moves to its second location in Montreal, thankfully the actors are much more at home, and the B-movie acting ups its game a little more.  

A pastiche on B-movies of the seventies, with a focus on giallo, Renaud Gauthier and Marie-Claire Lalonde’s Discopath definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously with one of the main cops pulling off a wonderful Nic Cage turn. It’s definitely not the best B-movie out there, but it has a certain charm that will definitely award it a cult following. Penny Reeve

The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears, Delivery and Discopath were shown at Broadway Cinema as part of Mayhem Film Festival on Friday 1 November 2013

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