The BFI Dwoskin season continues with even more cinematic sadism & absolutely the most disturbing movie you've ever seen about strippers….

You can forget Zombie Strippers (2008), nothing quite equals Dyn Amo (1972) as a burlesque horror show! I caught a screening of the movie on Thursday  7 May 2009 as part of the BFI’s Stephen Dwoskin season. The film is disturbing and quite a few audience members walked out before the end. I lost count of how many once the numbers reached double figures.
Although the Dwoskin movie is based on the play Dynamo by Chris Wilkinson, the original narrative is stripped away and the focus of the film is the emotions of the cast; these are mainly revealed through facial close-ups. In the earlier parts of the movie, three actresses playing strippers run half-heartedly through their routines. They are not meant to be convincing or arousing. It is the director’s intention that they are seen as what they are, actresses standing in for strippers, rather than genuine burlesque artists. The first girl (Jenny Runacre)  strips to three pop tunes, but her act and this music is interrupted by the film titles (which are accompanied by an ambient Gavin Bryars soundtrack). Bryars then provides the deliberately inappropriate music to which a second girl (Pat Ford) strips with the assistance of a punter (John Grillo). A third desultory burlesque routine is performed by Catherine Kessler, once again to incidental music by Bryars. The constantly flowing camerawork and cutting was very trippy and made me lose all sense of time. Adding to these psychedelic effects were the exaggerated pouts of the actresses pretending to be strippers, who had an androgynous appearance thanks to both their moves and bad make-up. At times they looked remarkably similar to second-rate male rock singers like Mick Jagger and David Johansen.
The introduction of a fourth girl, Linda Marlowe, was the cue for Dwoskin’s trade mark visual sadism to really kick in. Marlowe was made-up to look prettier than the previous three actresses, so obviously something ‘bad’ was going to happen to her. Four males with wonderful early seventies hair (including some truly groovy sideburns) and clothes, proceeded to strip, torture and rape Marlowe. This was done at great length and very slowly, with the camera playing a leading role in the rape. Marlowe was blindfolded, gagged and bound with red and blue strips of material, that sometimes matched – at other times contrasted – with the clothes worn by the male actors. Despite its colour-coded visual beauty, this sequence was extremely unpleasant to watch; so I wasn’t surprised it caused some audience members to get up from their seats and walk out. As the sequence progressed, the Bryars soundtrack became increasingly industrial in tone. Marlowe’s onscreen rape and torture was followed by a long shot of her twitching face in extreme close-up; as I’ve said, I lose all sense of time watching Dwoskin films, I’ve seen this close-up described as lasting 30 minutes, but it felt shorter to me. That said, it sent yet more audience members scurrying home, while one of those who stayed complained at its conclusion that it was the longest close-up in the history of cinema. Dwoskin’s depiction of women is widely viewed as problematic and I certainly find it unpleasant at times. He aims for an alienation effect and he is perhaps too successful at this.
After eventually pulling back from the close-up of Marlowe’s face, Dwoskin cut to a shot of the actress in a crucifixion pose, with his four male actors arranged in front of her brandishing burning sparklers. Aside from Grillo who I’ve already mentioned, the other male players were Derek Paget, Andrew Carr and Malcolm Kaye. Dwoskin is an amazing film-maker, and at the end of Dyn Amo I found it hard to believe I’d sat through a two hour film. The time seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. While Dyn Amo is available on DVD, to get its full visceral effect you really do need to see it in a cinema. On the night I went, there was not only an introduction from Jackie Holt, but Linda Marlowe sat right in front of me. It was reassuring to see Marlowe hadn’t been permanently traumatised by appearing in Dyn Amo; she was alive and well and looked very sprightly for someone in their late-sixties.
When the film finished, one of Marlowe’s friends asked her if she found it difficult watching herself in Dyn Amo. She replied that her younger self was so different to how she is now, that it was like watching someone else. She quickly became very animated talking about the film, and eventually an usher had to come into the theatre and chuck Marlowe and her companions out; alongside the odd eavesdropper on their conversation, including yours truly. Before we were thrown out, Marlowe explained that in the original stage version of the film, the rape and torture scenes formed part of a psychological interrogation; while during the long close up that followed, her character talked obsessively about her life. Dwoskin, of course, had eliminated virtually all the dialogue from the original work!
The Dwoskin season at the BFI continues until the end of May, so there is still plenty of time to catch some of it, if you haven’t done so already.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Michael K on 2009-05-10 09:09:13 +0000

P E R V E R T!

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-05-10 10:27:10 +0000

Takes one to know one, and you’re both sick as a fork! Perversion is, of course, what made the avant-garde great! Now discuss that in not more than ten billion words….

Comment by The Linda Marlowe Clone on 2009-05-10 10:58:44 +0000


Comment by Mark E. De Sad on 2009-05-10 11:54:40 +0000

Sadism, did someone mention cinematic sadism? I’m a weedy Fall guy and I love tops coz I’m a total bottom feeder.

Comment by Miguel Chaos on 2009-05-10 12:01:33 +0000

Forget the Michael K Project and Join the Miguel Chaos/Miguel Monteiro Double Headed Multiple Identity Project. Latinos do it better!

Comment by Michael K on 2009-05-10 12:25:42 +0000

But I am Latino! Don’t you know your Latino-Celtic theory? In the first century AD Iroquois Indians travelling east from the Americas discovered the western fringe of Europe, and brought civilisation to it in the form of the Celtic developments they implanted. Everyone from Ireland, Wales, Manin, Kernow, Scotland and Brittany, is in fact Latino.

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-05-10 12:34:00 +0000

K is a full-on Latin lover. He just can’t reach orgasm unless there’s salsa or sarabanda music playing as we fork!

Comment by The Dialectic Clone on 2009-05-10 14:38:52 +0000

You don’t seem to know K well, Tessie. Last time he climaxed to a minuet.

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-05-10 19:06:39 +0000

Oh that’s the Nordic Mikkael K, two coughs and its over… but I don’t dig that K. He comes from Kiel in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein; and as an art project he wants to move to the village of Keel on Achill Island in County Mayo, Ireland. No doubt to prove that his anti-art is as boring as his love-making.

Comment by Ricardo Terrori on 2009-05-10 19:53:29 +0000

For zombie freaks who love almost fringe zombie shirt, I would advice of Jorge Olguín’s recent movie “Solos” (Alone), also known as Descendents (International, English title)
A IMDB said on 4 may 2009:
“Beyond Geroge Romero there has not been a zombie film that’s loaded with this much social/political commentary. Jorge Olguin’s 2002 follow-up to SANGRE ETERNA aka ETERNAL BLOOD is a very strong and original post-apocalyptic/Sci-fi/horror movie. For about a half a million dollars, the movie was shot in ten days, with mostly young children ranging from five to ten years old. The children’s acting may not be up to par and some of the effects surely reflect the lack of budget & time but DESCENDENTS/SOLOS is a truly dark and disturbing movie set in a dystopian world that looks like a low budget mixture of 28 DAYS LATER and CHILDREN OF MEN, with strong echoes to Chile’s past as a military dictatorship. Jorge Olguin is a talent to definitely keep an eye on. “

Comment by Ricardo Terrori on 2009-05-10 19:56:24 +0000

I can’t reach an orgasm unless there is some Unter Null, Hocico or Amduscia shirt playing…And I’m latin as hell!
That’s what Cultural Colonialism does to us.

Comment by Ricardo Terrori on 2009-05-10 20:01:55 +0000

I would say, much to your dissapointment Miguel, that if you are portuguese, at least technically speaking you are an european…
Another reason to re-stablish IUS SANGUINIS over fuckin IUS SOLIS.
We don’t want to end as in England…

Comment by Msmarmitelover on 2009-05-10 20:22:53 +0000

For a brief moment I thought you meant the Dworkin season at the BFI. As in Andrea Dworkin? Now that’s something I’d like to see…

Comment by Msmarmitelover on 2009-05-10 20:29:50 +0000

I wish howling dwarf, shrieking toad would comment on my blog. Particularly on my dinners.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-05-10 20:34:15 +0000

Hey Rick, Alone sounds good… I’m a real fan of Italian zombie movies of the 1970s and 1980s myself… and the odd Spanish directed/made one too such as “The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue” – a real classic!
And yes Msmarmite, Dwoskin and Dworkin are remarkaby similar looking names… Dworkin at the BFI, I guess we’d have to make films of her books first….

Comment by Ricardo Terrori on 2009-05-10 21:00:50 +0000

Mr. Trippy: have you seen “El Día de la Bestia” or “Acción Mutante” from spanish director Alex de la Iglesia? “El Crimen Ferpecto” (and this time is not a typo…), from De la Iglesia, also is another little plastic jewel.
Another recent chilean movie, not related to zombies, but so bad that is good is “Che Kopete, la película”, really insulting to High Culture I think, well into the picaresque style…curious things for curious things lovers.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-05-10 21:37:14 +0000

I saw Acción Mutante which was okay, but didn’t totally send me. But the funny thing was recently some artists made a similar film in London, in idea rather than production values – I didn’t go to see the art film on this subject screened but lots of people were saying go, and this is amazing coz no one has done anything like this, like rights for disabled, it is a real advance with film; and I’d say but what about Acción Mutante? But of course none of these artists had ever heard about it, coz they don’t know anything from outside the art world or Hollywood, which is really sad.

Comment by Ricardo Terrori on 2009-05-10 21:52:45 +0000

Well, it’s funnt because I think De la Iglesia took the disabled rights idea from England, and crossed over it with some Critical Mass stuff plus ETA!

Comment by Ricardo Terrori on 2009-05-10 22:44:16 +0000

Sorry, I meant Disabled Action. All wheels look alike to me.

Comment by Ricardo Terrori on 2009-05-11 15:08:22 +0000

Last night, very late , while I waited for someone to answer my last comment in order to polemise with him/her/it, I discovered a blog (I was searching for everything Georges Perèc) whick struck me as very dense -in the good sense, not the Althusserian one – and good. Bookmarked it and now, while I read it, get some nice surprises. I was about to put a comment to address this blogger to here, as I always do if I find people deserving such an Honour, but …Plaf! the guy already knows S.H. and got him mentioned about a recent passing we all are sorry for.
Here’s the link:
(hey…my comments are starting to look like posts…maybe I will give us a break…soon)

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-05-11 17:48:02 +0000

Hey Rick, keep ’em coming… There will be another post on here tomorrow, but I’m working in the west country this week, so may be a bit slower than usual….

Comment by Ricardo Terrori on 2009-05-11 18:25:10 +0000

Y had the strangest hallucination this morning…I thought I saw a new post…
Thanks, Mr.Trippy, I know I don’t bother you. It’s just that I was the last commenter in a few posts and got a bit paranoid…I mean, is not tiny deal to have the “last word” amongst this friends of yours!
I’m gonna think it is related to differences in time zones…

Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-05-11 19:47:31 +0000

Hey Stewart, I think I read somewhere that the Marlowe close up was 18 minutes, which is still insane! (and I don’t mean that in any negative way). And you’re right, you don’t get the full effect of some works on DVD. Hell, I remember when I saw Salo on the big screen …
Looks like a decent set of Dwoskin films coming up. I would be curious to see how his more recent films stand up in comparison to his earlier works.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-05-11 23:34:33 +0000

Hey Mike, If I have time I’ll go to some more Dwoskin and blog it, but this month is a bit busy from now on so can’t promise I’ll be making more of the. I really wanted to see the Dwoskin talk, but it clashed with Performing Localities!

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