Quentin Dupieux  



Imagine a movie about a killer, except that the killer is a car-tire. 'Why?', you ask? Why not? It could be fun and it'll be different. If that kind of approach to film-making speaks to you, then by all means check out this unique Frenchman's work (whose chief occupation is making electronic music, but I won't hold that against him). His movies squat firmly in the world of absurdism, and they are comedies, but the laughter (if you are so inclined) would be more often due to surprise than anything else. His absurdism ranges from the really bizarre, to the not-quite-real, where odd things happen that theoretically could be real, except that the world they occur in has a logic of its own, or a world where odd things constantly keep happening therefore everything eventually seems surreal. Take his first full-length film 'Steak', which features a society where young men desperately want to join a 'cool' gang of youths that drink milk, are obsessed with face surgery, perfection, health and playing a game that combines cricket and math. It's like sci-fi without sci-fi. Or, like a chair without a surface to sit on. Or perhaps it's really just a commode converted into a chair because it's amusing. His light and absurd anything-goes approach is somewhat reminiscent of Hitoshi Matsumoto.

Recommended

Réalité  
When Dupieux makes a movie about Reality, you know it's going to be about anything but. Then again, his movie titles have never lied before, so perhaps it is reality. Or perhaps I am being dreamed by the girl in the movie who is named Reality. Then again, this review may be just a figment of your imagination while you are dreaming about watching this movie and I am actually a character in the movie. In any case, these are the sort of jokes that Dupieux plays around with in this film, which is his best movie so far, with much better pacing and structure than his previous efforts. A movie director is trying to get his horror film about TVs, funded by a producer who wants him to come up with an Oscar-worthy groan. At the same time, a girl is dreaming (or watching a video that came out of a pig's innards), a TV presenter that the director is filming may or may not have eczema, the girl's school principal dreams about being a cross-dresser except the girl has seen him, there is another director who is filming the girl as well as everyone else in the movie within a movie within the movie screening the movie to the producer while the other director's reality keeps shifting, and so on, all of these plot lines interweaving in impossible ways like an Escher drawing with random sprinklings of little Dupieux absurd 'jokes'. It's fun, light candy for the brain, and I'm fond of it, even though it doesn't really have any atmosphere, plot, depth, or compelling characters. This one basically feels like a very entertaining joke and is a lighter companion piece to movies like Brain Dead (1990 with Pullman).

Of Some Interest

Rubber  
This one presents its philosophy for strangeness upfront. It's called 'No Reason', because films and life always have things happening for no reason, so why not make a nonsensical film for no reason? Except this one also plays with the meta-concept of the absurdity of life and film by filming an audience witnessing the film through binoculars and participating. The film goes on while they watch, the film-makers introduce themselves by knocking down chairs with a car, then attempt to abuse the audience for... you guessed it... no reason. Oh and the film itself? It's about a car-tire that comes to life with telepathic powers that allow it to blow up things, animals and people's heads. The tire then follows a sexy girl obsessively and gets in trouble with the police. There are more surprises, but you'll have to find them out for yourself. Definitely a one-of-a-kind oddity.

Wrong Cops  
Like Steak, this movie by Dupieux sticks with reality, but none that we are acquainted with, piling on the absurdities until it becomes kinda surreal. The characters abide by their own rules, and our world somehow let's them get away with it. The cops here are all criminals. One sells drugs inside dead rats, leading to a 'joke' that happens when he runs out of dead rats and the movie uses its own logic to reach a solution. Another uses his gun to get phone numbers and pictures of breasts from girls. There's a mutant cop that writes electronic music, and an almost-dead man that is passed from one cop to another as a minor annoyance. Oh, and Marilyn Manson is given the priceless role of a weak-willed and very ordinary character bullied by the cops. Write a book about what?!

Worthless

Wrong  
This is not a movie sentence review because the sentence isn't green. Of course, when the movie reaches the middle, it will fly away... See how easy it is to create nonsense? Nonsense may be intriguing and surprising at first, but it is still nonsense. It will wear out its welcome fast, and will leave you unrewarded no matter how hard you look for meaning. And that's what this movie is all about. It's not surreal and won't appeal to your dream-logic or right-brain; It's not Lynchian; It doesn't mess with your mind or challenge it in any way, and it's not funny. It's just a movie where seemingly normal people do or say nonsense. A girl falls in love with an obnoxious dude over the phone that nit-picks pizza logos and then accepts two people as if they were one, people communicate with dogs telepathically, it rains in the office and people ignore it, a neighbour refuses to admit that he jogs, people die for no reason and then they aren't dead anymore, and dog excrement turns out to have memories capturable on video. Endless surprises, endless boredom. Because the middle of the movie is really a floating napkin.




© 2000- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents