MIFF week 2

August 6, 2008

Two excellent new Australian movies kicked off MIFF week 2 Jon Hewitt’s Acolytes and Amiel Courtin Wilson’s Bastardy. These are so good I’m going to review them later.

Morgan Spurlock’s Where in The World is Osama Bin Laden was a piece of crap really. Spurlock is a publicity seeking twat who will do anything for attention, including leaving behind his wife during her pregnancy, to go on a quest for Osama Bin Laden. Forget the rumours Bin Laden died in 2002. Spurlock does a show pony quest world tour, where he asks four year old questions like, ‘why can’t we all just get along’. This facile baby analysis of things is served up with some occasionally funny jokes, visual gags and stunts to intelligent crowds, who applaud mindlessly like so many mechanical monkeys. I mean I guess its not so bad. It has some classic scenes where xenophobic Hasidim assault and bully Spurlock and nearly start a riot in Sunny Israel. The Saudi’s also get a bit of caning for their retroactive ways when Spurlock pays a visit. Spurlock’s defense of radical Islam, and the motivations of terrorism is hardly new… but a little subversive in a doco like this, I guess. The main conceit of finding Osama is just bullshit. Spurlock was a good MC at the event and he has something of the stand up comedian about him. His show TV show 30 days sounds interesting.

The must see doco event of MIFF was Stalags. Stalags are Jewish pornography about the holocaust where they revel in the masochism and pain of the camps and glorify figures of Aryan domination like Joseph Mengele and other Nazi henchmen. With titles like “I was Colonel Schultz’s Bitch” (no, its not Bob Crane’s autobiography), these Nazi porn novels as Jim Schembri puts it on his blog, ‘put the zap on your head’. I have actually heard there are contemporary porn videos from Israel that have similar themes and are made by Israelis, for a Jewish audience. I’d like to get my hands on some of them for MUFF? Anyone with knowledge out there? Whats even more shocking is that it reveals the fictional pornographic dimension of Holocaust survivor stories. How many were all greeted by Dr. Mengele on arrival at Aushwitz, who as one Historian joked, he must have been stationed there 24 hours a day. Other examples of erotic imagination invading survivor stories are mentioned. Like the case of K. Tetznik, who testified under oath at Eichmann’s trial. The doco discusses K.Tetznik’s book The Doll House (where the Joy Division name comes from) are revealed as highly fabricated. As another Jewish historian points out the Nazis’ considered Jews unclean, below them and to have a Jewish whore house in a concentration camp was ‘no-no’. We are shown video footage of guides at Auschwitz teaching tourists about the Nazi whore houses and showing them buildings, etc. The seriousness of the issue is raised by Jewish historians in Stalags who say to embellish or lie about the holocaust, lessens the historical reality of the event. It all made a fascinating and brave doco from Israel, that reveals the masochistic dimension in all of us and a certain Stockholm syndrome in post war Jewish identity.

Stalags played with To See If I’m Smiling a one hour doco about a group of cute female Isreali soldiers under 25, discussing atrocities or cruelties they saw or participated against Palestinians. It had people in the audience actually crying! The parallells to the Nazi experience were all too obvious after Stalags with barb wire, ghettos, walls, surveillance, child murder and on and on. A sad film, indeed. Interesting to note the Palestinians have not yet developed a pornographic industry about their experience under Israel’s yoke, as far as I’m aware…?

Another good doco was With Gilbert and George, about the two quasi fascist homosexual English artists. They love Thatcher, John Major, Rent Boys, gaudy colors, being living sculptures and collecting bizarre vases and furniture. Their full career is covered. They claim they are Conservative Anarchists and why not?! Sounds cool to me. G&G’s more recent work though seems too Baudrillardian traveling literally up Gilbert and George’s own asses, shit and all. They inspired the Pet Shop Boys, and do look like a fun pair to go drinking with. G&G are English icons. Like the Queen and a Bentley. They toured Commie Russia and China to share their ethos of ‘art for all’. They have a deep sense of irony to what they do, that is delicious and darkly funny. G&G rule Britannia!

The last four days of MIFF report and sum up next week.

One Response to “MIFF week 2”

  1. I didn’t see Spurlock’s new movie cuz everyone said it was bad, but I do enjoy his show “30 Days,” which just wrapped up its third season here in the U.S.

    I don’t mind Spurlock’s huckster-y style, you just have to be mindful of what you’re in for and to look through it. And a lot on “30 Days” is painfully liberal — which I am so that doesn’t bother me either — but sometimes it can be somewhat surprising, like the anti-gun activist who started coming around to the other side. Plus, the Native American episode he did probably should have been his second feature not the Bin Laden nonsense. It was extremely moving and touching.

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