2 posts categorized "transgressive cinema"

July 13, 2014


Pink FlamingosJohn Waters's second movie not only set the low bar for just how gross a midnight movie could be in 1972, “Pink Flamingos” remains to this day the most cogently transgressive and anarchic film ever made. Nowhere else in cinema will you find a singing-asshole performer — with an extended close-up on his anus’s “performance” — sex between two people with a live chicken in the middle, indecent transsexual exposure, a flasher with a salami tied to his penis, a mock-incest blow job between a “son” and his transvestite “mother,” actual eating of dog feces, and an enigmatic terrorist drag queen played by the incomparable Divine.


Posters for the movie ran with the tagline, “An Exercise In Poor Taste” for good reason. “Pink Flamingos” foreshadowed Punk Rock’s fiery attitude of bitter irony, articulate viciousness, and acted-out aggression. When reporters interview Divine during the story about whether or not blood turns her on, she replies, “It does more than turn me on; it makes me cum!” Divine (Glen Milstead) remained a muse to John Waters right up until the actor’s death in 1988.

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Every co-conspirator member of John Waters’s milieu of Baltimore’s underground cast and crew is a legitimate rebel with their freak-flag waving high. The film’s loose narrative involves a competition between rival outlaw groups for the title of the filthiest person alive. What could be more challenging to the status quo, and more liberating for its participants and audience, than to elevate poverty, filth, and rebellion to its highest possible rank of ultimate authority over society at large?

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Divine (a.k.a. Babs Johnson) lives in a disused trailer home hidden on the outskirts of town with her egg-obsessed mother Edie “the egg lady,” her juvenile delinquent son Crackers, and his fetish-driven girlfriend Cotton (Mary Vivian Pearce). Cotton likes to masturbate while watching Crackers engaged in blood-smeared sex with random partners.


After a local rag decrees Divine as the “filthiest person alive,” Connie and Raymond Marble, a jealous couple of black-market-baby pimps, set out to dethrone Divine. The foot-fetishist duo kidnaps young women and imprisons them in their basement where their asexual butler Channing impregnates them against his will. The Marbels sell the babies to lesbian couples for $5000 per infant. Waters’s non-stop stream of sarcastic social commentary runs thick, wide, and deep. There is nowhere for an audience to hide. Every anti-establishment theme is pushed right up in your face and hung there for you to ponder.

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“Pink Flamingos” is a genuine article of underground cinema (it was made on a $10,000 budget). Waters’s brilliant use of rock ‘n’ roll music — the sphincter performance occurs over The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” — sets the film’s goofy psychobilly tempo and tone. Aside from being a mainstay of the Midnight Movie repertoire, “Pink Flamingos” is a daring black comedy made enticingly entertaining by the outrageous character of Divine that Glen Milstead made all his own with the help of make-up artist Van Smith.


Rated NC-17. 93 mins.

5 Stars

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December 04, 2011


El TopoAlejandro Jodorowsky's 1970 avant-garde showpiece of transgressive cinema revolutionized the commercial landscape of what was possible for an "art film" to achieve. Jodorowsky's off-kilter use of religious symbols and Western genre motifs, against a visually open palate of a Mexican desert, fit naturally into the era's lexicon of drug use. "El Topo" became the catalyst for the Midnight Movie phenomenon where stoned audiences returned week after week to absorb unusual films — the bloodier or weirder the better.

Ep: 63 - (Acid Western Series) El Topo — PsychotroniCast

In spite of its limited production values, "El Topo" is an obviously ambitious effort. Jodorowsky employs asymmetrical storytelling devices in conjunction with exploitation elements of violence and sex to weave an inventive film that challenges its audience on intellectual and visceral levels. The filmmaker’s abundant casting of dwarfs, amputees, and nonprofessional actors adds to an atmosphere of seething underground rebellion.

El topo

“El Topo” announces its bizarre socio-political allegory in an opening pre-roll that describes a protagonist mole digging tunnels toward the sky only to discover that when he finally breaks through, the sun blinds him. That brief synopsis encapsulates the A-B story that follows.

cinemAnni on Twitter: "December 18 50TH ANNIVERSARY EL TOPO by Alejandro  Jodorowsky Cinematography by Rafael Corkidi Stars: Alejandro Jodorowsky,  Brontis Jodorowsky, Alfonso Arau, David Silva https://t.co/6AmgwF4M9X…  https://t.co/eHwsLaCAFf"

El Topo (played by Jodorowsky) is the film's allegorical mole. He is a black-clad avenging cowboy who differs significantly from the Don Quixote archetype upon which he is loosely based. El Topo’s naked six-year-old son rides on horseback with his father. They arrive at a recently massacred town covered in paint-textured blood. Corpses cover the ground. A dying man crawls, begging to be put out of his misery. El Topo hands his son his pistol to do the honors. The vulnerably naked child complies.

El topo

Jodorowsky's version of a brave new world is a retro post-apocalyptic country where life is cheap. El Topo hunts down the fascist Colonel responsible for the massacre and castrates him, prompting the autocrat’s consequent suicide. Our hero abandons his son in the care of monks in the interest of taking off with a passionate woman of the desert. He names her Mara. Their relationship turns on her demands that El Topo prove himself as the best gunfighter around.

INFLUENCERS] The Psychomagic of Alejandro Jodorowsky Autre Magazine

Mara encourages her lover to engage in duels with religious zealots from four divergent disciplines, existing in nomadic isolation. The ethically challenged El Topo cheats to dispatch his holy rivals until he sees through his contravention. El Topo’s dubious victories momentarily satisfy Mara before she slips into a lesbian affair with a whip-wielding dominatrix. The outlaw destroys his pistol before transitioning into a Christ-like phase of existence that makes up film’s ladder half where our mole of salvation attempts to free a community of deformed people by digging through their cave toward the relative freedom of a Western-styled town run by violent cultists.

El Topo Blu-ray - Alejandro Jodorowsky | Film stills, Movies, Art

For all of its easily mocked elements, “El Topo” is a work of mad cinematic genius that stays with you.

http://twi-ny.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/el-topo-2.png | Film  pictures, Film stills, Alejandro jodorowsky

5 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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