At the Museum
Goings-on at Museum of the Moving Image
The unusual, unsparing, and sometimes leering candor of Helmut Berger, Actor is made possible by the fact that the film’s subject seems to be totally absent any self-censoring mechanism. His substance intake may have some part in this.
The most intriguing draw is a 38-minute Eternalist collage of footage taken by New Yorkers on the day of the World Trade Center attack.
Films as disparate as Altered States, Nosferatu, 1984, The Night of the Hunter, Repulsion, Tetsuo the Iron Man, M, and Sette note in nero are placed on the same emotional plane, each an evocation of all-purpose, free-floating, indefinable anxiety.
Structurally, Territorio is indebted to James Benning, whose geographical features are made up of meticulous static long takes assembled around central themes. But while Benning is the master of depopulated Western landscape shots, Cuesta serves up people and faces in lieu of places.
The setup of the film works less as narrative than as an inception point for numerous complementary and competing layers of fiction and reality, including the test footage for the film-within-a-film, scenes relating to its production, and footage of life in Tokyo.
Just as Jay takes his place as the figurehead of a pagan cult, so too did Kill List crown Wheatley as the king of UK horror movies when it was released theatrically, a speedy ascension to a throne that had sat vacant since the 1970s.
With naked bodies slowly twisting and writhing in a thick, inky chiaroscuro, a hazy but unidirectional light giving definition only to the rounded forms and flexing musculature of the women onscreen, it is clear that Grandrieux has painting on his mind.