Thursday, November 19, 2015

“Rebel Scum” DVD (director: Video Rahim)

Dirty document of drunken derelicts...

Sometimes, documentaries are welcomed as intimate looks into celebrated artists, celebrities, events, or historical incidents. This is none of the above. “Rebel Scum” looks at Knoxville’s scuzz-punk band the Dirty Works, and particularly their damaged and recklessly self-destructive frontman, Christopher Scum. Now, I’ve been closely involved in underground music and transgressive art for 30 years, and I’d never heard of this band. Is this even a real documentary? Wild Eye Releasing have done some pretty awful films before…hmm.

Regardless, this purports itself to be a real documentary, so I’m reviewing it as such. The band here is pretty much an inept bunch of drunken rowdies, with an audience that numbers, well, maybe in the tens. Mr. Scum, though seemingly a pretty nice guy, has a serious and alarming problem with substance abuse. The film follows the band around, showing some of the most embarrassingly painful scenes — sloppy, slovenly, and sickeningly drunken and drugged.

Why anyone would like to see this is beyond me. There’s little to be said for watching a man and his friends slowly kill themselves. “Rebel Scum” shows a band who are not so much making music as making a desperate cry for help. I hope someone hears it.

“Immoral Tales” Blu-Ray (Director: Walerian Borowczyk)

Notorious and scandalous sexcapades!

Probing sexual taboo and deliberately poking a big “middle finger” at contemporary mainstream morals and “values”, Borowczyk's infamous selection of erotica vignettes (released in 1974) is as raw and consciously inflammatory as can be, even 40 years later. “Immoral Tales” is a great deal of fun, and it’s more than obvious that Borowczyk wasn’t taking things too seriously beyond his provocative stance. This isn’t a snooty “art” film, nor is it simply pornography. It seems to inhabit a world stealthily in between.

The 5 stories contained within, though unrelated in any way but thematically, each delve into another facet of incendiary sexuality, from spiritual fellatio on a beach (beautiful in it’s own way) to explorations into lesbianism, bestiality, masturbation, incest, and beyond. There’s no taboo here, as Borowczyk’s slandering of Catholicism and “morality” is purely confrontational in every way. 

A celebration of decadent perversity and unashamed sexual liberty, with a liberal amount of nudity (furry beavers, boobs, and butts are the cameraman’s prime focus quite often), this film is a titillating enough experience on merely a surface level. There are plenty of flaws, from poor dialogue to some marginal set design to questionable acting, but “Immoral Tales” remains a landmark in confrontational cinema. Is it art or is it porn? You be the judge.