Monday, June 20, 2016

LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS (1971)

LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS is an early Werner Herzog documentary that centers around a deaf-blind woman, Fini Straubinger, who is (from what I saw in this film) a saint, stronger than a thousand bodybuilders, endlessly inspirational and a perfect example of the human spirit.

When Fini was 9 years-old she fell down a flight of stairs and afterwards began to lose her sight and hearing.  By the time she was 18 she was deaf-blind.  For whatever asshole reasons, her family neglected her and she remanded in her bed for 30 fucking years!!!  Eventually she made it out of that Hellish situation and by the time Werner captured her in this film she had somehow (there was a brief talk of a charity group) became a goodwill ambassador for deaf-blind people.  In this film, she (too) briefly tells her story and then for the remainder of the film goes around hanging out with other deaf-blind people.  Some stuff is spoken to the camera, but for the most part, it is just Fini interacting with other people and her surroundings.

Fini is amazingly well adjusted to her situation.  It's extremely impressive, but then we meet some of the other deaf-blind people who are nowhere as well adjusted and it's heartbreaking.  I think the saddest to me was the young man, Vladimir Kokol, who was born blind-deaf (and with an apparent mental problem?) who had been neglected from birth.  This dude was all kinds of jacked up and it broke my heart watching him.  At least, by the time he appeared in this film, he was living in a facility that would take care of him, but still it was sad knowing that his poor soul would live his entire existence in silence and darkness and most likely never even be able to grasp what's going on...which, come to think of it, might be a "good" thing.

LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS is emotionally draining, but it is very thought provoking and it will give you pause the next time you feel like bitching about something in your life. Also, I would love to see an update on the people featured in this film and know how the rest of their lives turned out.  I hope they all found some form of happiness.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

THE SUM OF US (1994)

"Our children are only the sum of us.  What we add up to.  Us and our parents and our grandparents and theirs.  All generations."

Set in Sydney, Australia, THE SUM OF US is about a dad (Jack Thompson) and his grown up son (Russell Crowe). They both have full-time jobs and live together almost like roommates instead of father and son. Jack loves his son dearly...even though he's gay!!!  Gasp!  It's sad that that was noteworthy in 1994 and even sadder that it was still noteworthy back in 2016!  (Yes, I'm still timeblogging from the future.  It's currently September 15th, 2958 if you just must know.)

Anyway, Jack and Russell are very close.  Both are single (Jack is a widower) and THE SUM OF US is the simple slice of life story about the two of them trying to find a successful relationship.  Russell has his eyes set on a cute local guy, but when the young man sees how relaxed Russell is with his father, it really messes with his head (since his home life is the opposite) and for whatever reason this causes him to quit seeing Russell.  Russell is heartbroken.  At the same time, Jack meets a woman and they are very happy...for awhile.

I really enjoyed THE SUM OF US.  The performances by the entire cast are great, the Sydney locations are beautiful (Earth must have been an amazing place...ahh, whoops, uh, Earthlings just, uh, forget I said that) and the two main characters are a joy to watch.  I've seen THE SUM OF US a number of times over the years and always enjoyed it, but if I had things my way: the story would have been lighter; the flashbacks about the grandmother would have been dropped completely and replaced with more stuff about both Russell and Jack's dating adventures; the medical thing would have never happened and the runtime increased to accommodate the extra dating stories.  But that's just my two cents.

As it is, THE SUM OF US is still a very enjoyable film.  Highly recommended. If you need me, I'll be in my room wondering how the hell I noticed that there were two 1994 films from the Oceania region featuring a guy pointing at his junk.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ANTHROPOPHAGUS (1980)

Seven friends, who are too stupid to live, go to a small island 100 miles off the coast of Greece to visit some friends.  Once there, they find it odd that the entire population of the island is missing, but not odd enough to get the hell out of there.  Instead they wander around until they start getting killed by some tall sunburnt cannibalistic creep with shaggy hair and bugged-out eyes.  Once the killings start they do the only viable option you have when you're being stalked by a lone flesh-eating monster...they split up constantly.  They don't gather any weapons and use the strength of numbers to overpower this one dude.  Oh no.  They split up nonstop and walk around like idiots until...well, I don't want to give away the exciting ending.  Yawn.

ANTHROPOPHAGUS was directed and co-written by Joe D'Amato, so that in itself should be all you need to know to stay away from this film, but in all honestly ANTHROPOPHAGUS isn't that bad.  It's definitely better than the majority of the stuff helmed by D'Amato (I'm talking about you PORNO HOLOCAUST, you piece of shit!!!), but that doesn't mean it's good.  Slow pace, goofy-looking killer, bland-looking "victims" that were so unremarkable that I could hardly tall them apart, very weak attempts at self-preservation, lightning fast nudity, low gore, mildly entertaining kills (even the infamous "fetus" scene was so poorly presented that it was barely shocking), disappointing ending.

Worth a watch, I guess, for horror fans.  As for me, this was the second time that I've seen ANTHROPOPHAGUS and I hopefully it's the last.
You're already inside motherfucker!