Edwin Brienen  

Dutch cult prolific director of several in-your-face trashy cinematic acts of terrorism, wannabe-provocateur and fan of Fassbinder and the NY underground. Obviously a follower of the philosophies of De Sade, Nietzsche, Lavey, et al, all of which he abuses constantly as an excuse to provoke his audience with filth, graphic and violent pornographic acts, and extreme anti-conservatism. His characters tend to philosophize and rant angrily, frequently indulge in nasty rape and in any sexual orientation, feature cross-dressing lip-syncing performances, and throw themselves into a frenzy of bestial lust, kink and degradation. After a series of cinematic acts of terrorism that felt more like testosterone gone wild backed by confused philosophical readings where even the music was designed to abuse your senses, he started experimenting in other genres and expanding his art-house cinematic repertoire. Reviewed until 2016.

Of Some Interest

Brienen's first full-length creation is half nihilistic cinematic terrorism and philosophical manifesto, half juvenile provocation full of filth and tiresome shock tactics. Six characters serve as mouthpieces for Brienen's ideas which are mostly taken from De Sade and some from Nietzsche et al. Self-interest and momentary desire are the masters, not idealisms or conservative morals, and such conservative advocates need to be shaken from their trees using active brain-powered nihilistic terrorism and random acts of depravity and violence. While they are at it, their partners in crime, random depressed women, and ex-friends down on their luck, all receive their share of abuse as well. One scene features a woman getting raped by the Dutch version of Santa Claus while a man in blackface watches and masturbates, another scene presents Jesus, after being rejected by an SS officer, graphically masturbating onto his cross. A TV executive is kidnapped and given the full treatment, which includes male oral rape and lectures. We get many lectures in the form of rants from the protagonists. There is an attempt at making all of this filth an intelligent provocation for nihilistic aggression, which is why the movie maintains interest for a while, but the bottom line is that this feels like a rehash of De Sade's chaotic and illogical thoughts featuring a group of people that are slaves to their own whims, testosterone, desires and anger. This is not will-to-power, but impulse-to-will.


Edwin Brienen's Hysteria  
Wildly experimental cinema featuring some silent throwback expressionism cut together with headache-inducing random montages, repeating footage of a woman being chased naked in the snow by a man in a mask, rape, tarot and crystal balls, and some extreme scenes of male sodomy, abuse and fisting. The silent sub-movie presents a group of people performing some sleazy exploitation melodrama, some S&M, then a sexually ambiguous person sings an opera, then they turn vampiric and insane while abusing each other. The grating soundtrack is as annoying as it can get: Noise that sounds like a warped radio tuner, classical music mixed with gunshots, beeps and tones like a cat on a synthesizer, pounding industrial beats and electronica, electronic vibrations, etc. It all only adds up to something that requires an aspirin. Of course there's always going to be some idiot that will call this artistic. Color filters, transgressive imagery and montages do not an art movie make.

Last Performance  
Relatively conventional and subdued by Brienen's standards, but this is still trashy melodrama with endless lurid sex and warped people. Cooper is a gay actor in love with Tom who is a very frustrated and sexually confused man. Julia is a friend to both but falls for Tom, and Tom keeps them both on a leash, unable to commit himself sexually to either, so he abuses them instead, and hires nasty men to take his place while he watches. Misused Laveyan philosophies and quotes from Goethe are a natural evolution for Brienen, who previously made use of De Sade and Nietzsche as an excuse to display angry, transgressive sex and filth on screen. After a lot of seedy self-degrading melodrama and abusive sex with pretentious, unnatural dialogue, this movie ends with an avant-garde theatrical piece involving symbolic stabbing of a baby, demonic rape, and murder which bleeds into the reality of the broken actors. Although this one is wrapped in very nice cinematography and striking artsy sets, the content is tiresome, lurid, tacky and depressive. Satan would disown this.

Life Pornography (AKA Berlin Nights)  
Brienen delivers another tiresomely angry and desperate movie that expends so much endless energy just trying to provoke and disgust, that it is instantly boring. Another troupe of angry, depressed and generally screwed up people take out their frustrations on all that is banal, ordinary and conservative. A woman yells at us for our banal tastes and our hypocritical accusing fingers amidst a montage of extreme pornographic filth. Then the various characters, most of them actors desperately looking for a job, land a sex-act in Germany, rant, lust, screw and abuse each other, or throw themselves at each other or at strangers in desperate acts of kink, like sexual addicts having a crisis. There's a fat gay man who tells a story of how he murdered his mother, another gay man who is depressed over having dumped his HIV-positive boyfriend, a man who hates his wife and takes it out on her, various sexual abuses involving fisting and so on, all backed by a grating electro-noise soundtrack. Get over your teenage-rebellion-act, guys, and come back when you have something to say.

2000- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents