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It gets some time to defrost the whole experience and take a closer look at what has just been sensed. It's that process that Lost At Sea tries to conjecture with this ongoing feature. Focusing on the fall season for three months both at Norway's Bergen Cinemateket USF (by the way, USF stands for United Sardine Factories) and Bergen Filmklubb, this is the place to discuss and comprehend what has been done so far, and what we achieved in recent years, as far as the seventh art goes. So, the bottom-line could well be: LAS goes to the movies but lets you sit nearby.
.: Week 1
Our first entry to this cinematic vault is Dementia 13 (USA, 1963) by Francis Ford Coppola. And the plot goes like this: there's a guy, John Haloran, who dies of a heart attack. His wife Louise freaks out because, with John dead, she won't get a slice of the big cake, i.e. her mother-in-law's inheritance. So the fatal blonde writes a letter to her late husband's mother, forging his handwriting, and saying that sadly he had to go to an important meeting in New York. Not wanting to be a definite spoiler here, this does sound like a been there, seen that thing, doesn't it?
With a plan being cooked in her mind, she rushes to the Haloran's property, an ominous castle in Ireland, to attend a family ritual in memory of little Kathleen, who had drowned in the lake seven years before. And then the story gets twisted here and there. To put it short: it's a low-budget, black & white, horror flick with few aspects that we'd consider to be head-raisers.
Some trivia: when assisting Roger Corman in Ireland, a young Francis Ford Coppola was allowed to use the set Corman had been using for this particular film, if he could meet Corman's schedule. Sure, Dementia 13 comes from the sixties, but I've seen more intricate and appealing films both right out of Coppola's brains and the genre itself. Remember Apocalypse Now? It has nothing to do with it. Who holds the big axe - is what you really get to know in the end.
Now adding my five cents to the whole thing, I must say that, with all the editing and production options considered, Dementia 13 is so crap it's good.
Buffalo '66 (USA, 1998), directed by Vincent Gallo, is the movie that follows. Billy Brown (Gallo himself), a moody convict released after ten years in jail - who doesn't get moody after ten years, anyway? -, abducts Layla and asks her to act as his adorable and dedicated wife when he visits his parents. The girl (the beautiful Christina Ricci) buys his story and overacts, showing a strong character not known when she first popped in the screen. The big detour in Billy's persona will come by the end, obviously fuelled by the wonderful girl lying on the bed in that cheap motel.
Shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, this is Gallo's debut as a director, and it's a hell of a debut. Self-indulgent and visceral, his work both as an actor and a director is a take it or leave it artistic statement. I'll pretty much take it.
Relying entirely on his real (or fake) grumpiness, the man doesn't always make the right choice for his flicks, but succeeds in mesmerizing the audience into his troubled spiral of scrambled and mentally-ill imagery. In fact, he does break some ground here.
And the line "Are your parents vegetarians? I hope so, because I don't eat meat - ever!" will always resonate as a sample of Gallo's maniac in-depth work in everybody's tastes and beliefs. Poor girl!
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.
See other articles by Helder Gomes.
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