Roland Lethem  



An underground Belgian director of mostly shorts, with some experimental full-length movies. His influences are the classic surrealists Bunuel and Cocteau, as well as Japanese Pinku directors, and he combines this sense of surrealism, humor, shock-tactics and transgressions in his films. An enfant-terrible, he likes to provoke and shock his audience, often while making political statements, but more often just as a joke or experiment. His films grew from fun little antisocial fantasies, to more serious minded visual experiments and montages, then back to just having perverse provocative fun. In the full-length movie "Bande de cons!" he punishes his audience by insulting them, showing various forms of abuse by police, and for most of its running time: extended pornographic scenes of a finger having sex with a nostril. Other shorts include anything from a man growing increasingly more desperate and shockingly violent as a baby bothers his sleep ('Double Insomnie'), jealous lovers take increasingly bloody revenge on each other even beyond the grave, there's a hypnotic animation based on a Phenakistoscope showing a witch turning into a woman and vice versa in 'Vampire of the Cinematheque', 'Vice and Virtue' goes for the image of a baby with an adult penis, there's a documentary on a tampax collector who names them after celebrities, a pervert eats various foods off a corpse in 'Gourmandises' then dies with her as a shock-tactic metaphor on greed and lust, and a girl has sex with a talking cactus as a short joke on 'the little green man'. The reviews below are his more notable and surrealistic creations. Reviewed until 2016.

Of Some Interest

Bloodthirsty Fairy, The  
The titular character is a curvy, sexy girl whose pastimes include fondling and strangling a nun, beating up a cop, gouging out the eyes of a kid, and collecting chopped-off penises from political leaders. She is carried naked in a barrel full of water and left at doorsteps as a gift, the men, of course, using her for sex, but getting more than they bargained for. A somewhat surreal in-your-face 25-minute amusing provocation with a silly political ending.

Red Cunt, The  
Gender-politics and in-your-face visual provocations rear their ugly heads in this highly surreal short by Lethem. The theme is the liberated woman versus the bourgeoisie. There's a manifesto, a violent prostitute, imagery of the titular subject, her client is turned into a mouse, and the prostitute literally consumes him amidst visual superimpositions of pornography, a red-haired vagina and cannibalism.

Sufferings of a Ravaged Egg, The  
By far his most surreal and experimental work. This is about 'introspection and fantasies', a projection of the self via a series of highly surreal and symbolic scenes, although what it means is anyone's guess. There's a man eating a starfish and spitting out smaller ones, a dead body of a female with wormy genitals and a crucifix(religion repressing sex?), representations of a marriage/hymen, and an egg emerging from his mouth coupled with violent imagery and jarring sounds.

Worthless

Light and the Sufferer  
Based on a story by Letham, this film start with an idea and an odd, kinda surreal, sci-fi concept, then completely fails to develop. Two loser drug-taking brothers plan to rip-off the local drug-dealer to make some quick money. Matters don't go too well, but it's really their implausibly and increasingly stupid decisions that get them in trouble. And as soon as they get in trouble, an alien creature in the form of a big cat with a human-shaped head appears in order to to watch and follow them around. They take it all in stride in this alternate universe, except that no one seems to know what the alien really wants, including the audience. No theories fit the events, including symbolic ones, unless they merely represent a bad omen whenever someone does something stupid, which is not very satisfying. The movie then veers into boredom and stays there.




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