Thursday, March 13, 2014


CHRIST - THE MOVIE (1990) (UR) Dir. Mick Duffield
82 mins.

Crass was a punk band formed in the late 70's that espoused a philosophy of anarchism, feminism, pacifism, and anti-commercialism louder than any of their peers at the time. There is no "liking" Crass, it would seem; people either love them or hate them. Cacophony reigned supreme at their shows, and at any given time there could be up to four singers on stage, backed by a wall of guitars and bass and incessant snare rolls. Behind all that hootenanny would be, projected on a large screen, short films depicting gruesome images and sounds of the human condition. Those short films formed a trilogy, and were compiled by director Mick Duffield into Christ - The Movie, six years after the band broke up.

The first and second parts of the trilogy are called Autopsy and Choosing Death, respectively. They are relatively similar in tone. The footage is mostly Duffield using a camera to film a television, pretty much any random program on it, and then editing the footage into a preapocalyptic wakeup call to the viewer. There is a lot of juxtaposition going on; sitcoms are juxtaposed with slaughterhouse footage, and commercials with stock war footage. Inevitably, analogies are made between the two and the results are disturbing, to say the least. Duffield also employs a lot of stock footage, and sparsely drops a few bits of Crass live in there as well. Crass is arguably one of the first rock bands to employ samples, and many of them are included here, sometimes in their original context, and they're mixed and spliced with sweeping ambient and industrial noise.

Yes Sir, I Will, which constitutes a bulk of this movie, is a little different. Whereas the last two segments had little of Crass' music, this one actually plays the Yes Sir, I Will album in its entirety whilst Duffield's trippy and violent images strobe, seemingly in step with the jarring beats. Since this album is only one-track and filled with rants against the War in the Falklands, the footage has less sarcasm than the last two in the trilogy, and is instead more directly political. It's very basically comprised of war footage, atrocities and casualties (a lot of atomic bomb victims living and dead are shown throughout all three segments of the film), military pomp, and political leaders. There's a few other things in there as well. This is the longest segment, and although I like it, I don't think it is as strong as the satirical cynicism of the first two.

Yet, overall I love this film. Many hate it, but fuck them. It's not for everybody. Much of the real-life gore could be offensive to some viewers, but then why are you on this blog? The unrelenting visual and aural barrages, the choppy editing, and the post-atomic angst are meant as an affront to the audience's senses, and it accomplishes that goal in spades. For me, it's just fun to look at. I'd call this Tripscreen, but I bet for a lot of folks this is the brown acid. 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment