Sunday, 3 November 2013

Flaming Creatures

Flaming Creatures – Jack Smith – Filmed on what seems to be virtually disintegrating film stock, the black and white glaring into an obliterating eclipse of white (also to do with the fact it was apparently filmed in the strong sunshine of a theatre rooftop…I think…). The imagery wanders from baroque gender ambiguous choreographies of desire, discussions of a fantastic ‘blowjob resistant’ lipstick, vampiric transvestites, and bountiful, exuberant nudity.

 The power of this film lies in its chimeric atmosphere, at times disturbing and simmering with violence, at other times wilfully playful and absurd. This is exemplified by the film’s central crescendo of flesh – what seems to be a rape (or could also, confusingly, be a particularly intense orgy?) in which flopping breasts are waggled and cocks are left to perch over shoulders, peering like inquisitive slugs…or being slapped heartily around, revelling in the genital hilarity that biology has fashioned for us excitable humans…eccentric creatures. The film veers from frightening and primal camera shakes that intimate wild involvement or panic, to burlesque slapstick…which, together, create quite a delirious fog of thrills, confusion, comedy and anxiety…at the same time, looking like it was filmed with a make-shift, improvised vision to emulating a decadent Arabian Nights set, but without a budget…and on the alchemical scratch, fuzz and shimmer of decaying film.

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