wants to be like Cannes, a government officer told me while I
was concentrating on my food at a beach party during the 59th
Cannes Film Festival. I spluttered this reply: "But has anyone
seen the films?"
the officer replied, "the Da Vinci Code, why can't you show that?"
This is, by the way, the reason I take my food so seriously and
why anyone who thinks about anything in $ingapore realises that
they can only get serious about food.
the last morsel of the Middle-eastern lamb that I had been chewing
meditatively and offered, "Sure we can show that but have you
seen the other films in the programme such as Shortbus, Taxidermia
Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus, about a group of emotionally-challenged
people, featured live sex. Every penetration and ejaculation in
the film was for real. Mitchell, who directed Hedwig and the Angry
Inch, challenged himself by performing cunnilingus. He directed
the scene by looking up now and then from the actress' private
parts that he was busy at. And yes, he doesn't normally eat "pussy".
wonderfully shot surreal fantasy, Taxidermia, was as graphic but
in a more composed way. But
it featured erect penises, penetration, ejaculations and an almost
poetic scene of a cock looking at an erect penis before pecking
vomiting scenes and shots of graphic surgery had the director
thanking the audience for the applause at the film's introduction
and quipping: "Hope you will feel the same way at the end of the
Dumont's Flanders with its theme of love and violence also did
not spare the audience from the horror of war (close-range executions
and torture) plus explicit sex.
Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain.
Of course, I didn't have the heart to tell the officer that my
examples weren't even isolated ones. The kind of films that I
was talking about were spread throughout the programme. For example,
the Cannes Classics, the retrospective section of the festival
featured two masterpieces by Alejandro Jodorowsky - The Holy Mountain
and El Topo, both made in 1973. Fans who have been privileged
to have seen these can attest to the phallic symbols and copious
nude scenes. Not only that, The Holy Mountain also insults religion
and is ranked as one of the 100 most bizarre films of all time.
I haven't seen these at the local video stores.
the Opening Film of the Director's Fortnight section was an adult
animation with live action, Anders Morgenthaler's Princess, which
featured butt-fucking rendered cartoon-style, about a famous porno
star, who leaves behind a daughter of five, after her death. And
this year's exhibition on the Russian film master, Sergei Eisenstein,
had as its centrepiece, his erotic drawings. How do you explain
to $ingapore officials all these? How do you explain that Cannes
actually has a mandate for culture which is the main difference
between us and them. And that's not even bringing up the budget
at that point, I gazed at the receding tide. My ship hadn't come
in but tomorrow is another day.
here for other movie articles by Philip Cheah:
On The Road From Cannes, Part I
On The Road From Cannes, Part II
East Goes West, West Goes East
Finding Asian Film Gems In Locarno 2005
Five Leaves Left: The Last Days Of Kurt Cobain
Imagine There's No Countries...
The Power Of Nightmares
The Year Of Speaking Mandarin