While first-time documentarian Kate Shenton clearly has the best interests of her subjects at heart, this documentary into the underground world of human suspension shows plenty of piercings, torn flesh and large hooks penetrating soft tissue. A number of characters on-screen are seen passing out at various moments, and I was certainly teetering on the edge of my own tolerance threshold on more than one occasion. While the film, which clocks in at barely over an hour, could have used a stronger narrative through-line, it certainly succeeds it getting up close and personal with a freakishly fascinating subculture about which I knew precious little indeed.
The closing film at PiFan this year was this modest, yet mostly effective thriller starring Ha Jung-woo as a shamed TV anchor, now radio DJ, who is forced back on the air when a terrorist calls into his morning show. Falling somewhere between Phone Booth and Talk Radio, the action takes place entirely within the radio studio, calling for some dramatic cinematography and editing, as well as a captivating performance from its leading man. Thankfully the film delivers these things, and even though the plot completely derails in the third act, Ha holds the whole thing together, almost single-handedly.
A somewhat pedestrian documentary about a group of misguided eco-warriors becomes a captivating exercise in car crash voyeurism as the members of the bizarre Fuck For Forest campaign head from Berlin to the depths of the Amazon basin to spread their singular vision and hopefully save the planet. Their biggest obstacle, however, proves to be themselves, and their jaw-droppingly insane ethos. Rejecting even the most base essentials of modern civilisation, this gang of promiscuous treehuggers make homemade pornography amongst themselves and sell it online, in order to raise money towards their ecological crusade. Somehow they have managed to raise a pretty hefty sum, and when their call for a cause is finally answered, they head off to save an indigenous community from an evil faceless corporation that is threatening their land. Suffice to say, things do not go according to plan, and in the wake of Eli Roth’s cannibal revival flick The Green Inferno, I was kinda rooting for them all to get eaten.
After losing his job, a lowly office lad attempts to drown his sorrows, only to be thrown out of a girly bar. He manages to anger a gang of yakuza in the process and hides in a derelict building, where he discovers a beautiful mannequin doll that begins to show signs of life. While this might sound like numerous other recent Japanese wish fulfillment stories, including Air Doll and Body Temperature, things quickly spiral out of control and quirky soon becomes depraved and downright disturbing. An overlong parade of rape, murder, necrophilia and general unpleasantness will test the ethics and patience of even the most perverted viewers.
Excellent low budget Indonesian thriller about a young, pornography-addicted taxi driver who becomes obsessed with the prostitute next door. With echoes of Drive and Taxi Driver, this is nevertheless an impressively executed tale of obsession and misplaced affection.