Custom

Custom (2024)

Custom had its world première at the Glasgow FrightFest 2024. “Hi, I’m Snake”, says a young man (Rowan Polonski) direct to camera at the beginning of writer/director Tiago Teixeira’s feature debut Custom. “And I’m Flower,” says the young woman (Abigail Hardingham) sat next to him. ‘Snake’ and ‘Flower’ are not their real names – for…

Good Boy

Good Boy (aka Me, You & Frank) (2022)

Good Boy (aka Me, You & Frank) screens at HÕFF – Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival  “If you have a pulse and two legs, then we’re well on our way,” reads the Tinder bio of Sigrid (Katrine Lovise Øpstad Fredriksen) seen near the beginning of Good Boy (aka Me, You & Frank). While this…

Piaffe

Piaffe (2022)

Piaffe screened at the London Film Festival 2022 When her trans sibling Zara (Simon(e) Jaikiriuma Paetau), a foley artist, is suddenly institutionalised, nervous, near mute film archivist Eva (Simone Bucio) takes over Zara’s commission reproducing equine sounds on an advertisement for a pharmaceutical ‘mood stabiliser’ punningly named Equilibri. Yet even as the ad’s director insists…

Blind Beast

Blind Beast (Mōjū) (1969)

Blind Beast (Mōjū) first published by Little White Lies, as the 134th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column “My name is Aki Shima,” Aki (Mako Midori) says in voiceover at the beginning of Blind Beast (Mōjū). “I was never very popular as a fashion model.” This narration is accompanied by black-and-white images of Aki taken…

Samuel's Travels

Samuel’s Travels (aka Squeal) (2021)

Samuel’s Travels (aka Squeal) opens with a confusion of signals. The credits handwritten on parchment in inked calligraphy, and the jaunty grace of the accompanying Minuet from Handel’s Water Music Suite No.1 in F Major, combine to suggest a couple’s choreography, told in a classical, literary mode – which is not an unfair description of…

Red Latex

Red Latex (Látex rojo) (2020)

“Slave!” is the first word uttered in writer/director Gerard Marcó de Mas’ feature debut Red Latex (Látex rojo). The speaker is Mistress Gise (Fedra Duarte), summoning her servant/apprentice/lover Julia (Valeria Rowiniski) to suck her toes and go through her schedule – but the dominatrix’s word is also programmatic, introducing us to the film’s key theme….

Cruising

Cruising (1980)

Cruising first published by Little White Lies, as the 86th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Police patrolmen DiSimone (Joe Spinell) and Desher (Mike Starr) cruise in their radio car through Brooklyn’s Meatpacking district, notorious for its nocturnal nightclubs and BDSM scene. “They’re all scumbags,” says Desher as he surveys the streets filled with leather-clad…

Romance

Romance (1999)

Romance first published by Little White Lies, as the 84th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Romance is a genre. It is that branch of erotic fiction typically filling the gaping crack between love and sex, fantasy and reality, and ultimately marrying its lead couple to a happy ending. So writer/director Catherine Breillat’s choice of…

Demonlover

Demonlover (2002)

Demonlover first published by Little White Lies, as the 81st entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column In the cutthroat world of business, Diane de Monx (Connie Nielsen) is in control. We see her, in the opening scene of Olivier Assayas’ Demonlover,  seated in first class on a plane besides Henri-Pierre Volf (Jean-Baptiste Malartre), the CEO…

Pants

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019)

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (Koirat eivät käytä housuja) first published (in a shorter version) by Sight & Sound, April 2020 Review: In the grand tradition of psychological dramas, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (Koirat eivät käytä housuja) opens with a primal scene: in trying to rescue his already dead wife (Ester Gieslerová) who, while out swimming,…