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BIGLENS THE KENT FILM MAGAZINE | VOLUME 4, ISSUE 4 | SPRING 2008

WHY HOLLYWOOD WILL NEVER PRODUCE ANOTHER

DEAN OR BRANDO





EDITORIAL

COVER: MARLON BRANDO | CMG WORLDWIDE

Best Actor - Best Supporting Actor - Best Actress - Best Supporting Actress - Best Animated Feature - Best Director - Best Editing - Best Make-up - Best Visual Effects - Best Original Screenplay. These well known award categories all produced the same winners at both February 10th’s BAFTAS and the Academy Awards fourteen evenings later. So was it slim pickings for the respective juries? Or did the dual winners of arguably the most prestigious industry awards really raise the bar to the extent that no jury could over look them? It’s difficult to know, but it enables us to raise the key problem with the awards season: It is just one season. Winning a golden mask or “the handsomest bludgeon in town” says little more about your project than it was simply better than the others released between two dates 365 days apart.

Still - in an industry where real gratification manifests as the bottom line on the executive producer’s returns - the glitz, the glam, the flashbulbs and frocks are really for us, aren’t they? We mimic our idols’ fashion sense; we buy the products of their labour; and, most importantly, buy the things we see paraded in front of us every fifteen minutes during these several hour commercial romps. Once the tears, the tantrums, several awkward foreigners, and a seriously pushy conductor have held our attention, and George Clooney has smugly uttered something intelligent, it is no wonder that most seem to answer the red carpet favourite “Where do you keep yours?” with a resounding “In the bathroom”. Tuning in next Year? You bet I am. Paul Ockelford

SMALLPRINT Edited by Nia Childs and Paul Ockelford Designed by Euan Monaghan If you have a passion for film and would like to contribute to BIGLENS, please email pto5 or come along to one of our weekly meetings which are held in the Shirley Barlow room in Eliot on Mondays at seven. BIGLENS is produced with the support of Kent Film, a society of the University of Kent Students Union. | All information is provided in good faith. | Articles are not necessarily the opinions of the editors of BIGLENS, of the Kent Film Society or of Kent Union. | Everything that is already copyrighted, is theirs. | Everything not, is the intellectual property of the individual writer, so no thieving.

Check out the Kent Film society hub at www.kentfilm.net for society news, BIGLENS movie reviews and all that good stuff. 


DREAMS, EH? What’s the point? They remain one of the great mysteries of the human mind: subconscious or random, they often tend to seem a combination of the two. And whilst exploring the nature of dreaming is probably slightly beyond my filmoriented mind, what I can look at is their portrayal, and the roles that dreams play in film. One of the most typical and functional uses of the dream in film is in evolving the plot in some way, be it directly or indirectly. Terminator 2: Judgement Day seems like a suitably random place to start. When Sarah Connor has her terrifying dream/ premonition about a nuclear explosion, it prompts her to go and find Dyson and try to kill him, thus evolving the plot. There have been other examples of blockbusters using dreams to drive narrative, one of the most important being I, Robot. Now, don’t misunderstand me: I am in no way saying I, Robot is a good film (it’s a bit shit (steady! – Ed.)), but the key to the plot and the finale is in the dreams of Sonny, the robot. (Though arguably a film that manages such an insurmountable amount of product placement is to be admired in some way.) I, Robot is a pseudo philosophical attempt to explore dreams, which brings us on to another, perhaps more intellectual, role of dreams in film. The Matrix is the most famous example of investigating the nature of dreams. It borrows heavily from Plato and Rousseau in its considerations of dreams and reality and where the two overlap. This begins to tread the sacred ground of the classic 8 year old “and then he woke up and it was all a dream” conclusion, a ground happily trod by Vanilla Sky, which uses the oldest trick in the book, employing Sigur Rós music in order to make it watchable. Dreams can also be used effectively to reveal psychological depth and insight to characters. In the meditative Sunshine, (I’m well aware I’ve alienated half of you by mentioning this, but I love it, so deal with it), Cassie confides in Capa that the “Only dream I ever have... is the surface of the sun... every time I shut my eyes... it’s always the same.” We later see Capa having the very same dream, and we become personally connected to the characters by sharing their private dream experience. One of the greatest uses of dream in terms of revealing character is undoubtedly in Blade Runner. Deckard dreams of a mystical unicorn, but shares his experiences with no-one in the film world. Yet at the end, the mysterious Gaff leaves him an origami unicorn. This one simple act, one simple shot, changes the entirety of Deckard’s character. He, too, is a replicant. Or is he? Interestingly, Harrison Ford 

insists that he was never intended as one, yet director Ridley Scott insists the opposite. Dreams are becoming as ambiguous in film as they are in reality. And now, after 500 words, we finally come to film’s messiah of dream. No contemplation of dreams can be undertaken without mentioning Michel Gondry. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as well as significantly boosting my word count, is a masterpiece, and placed the groundwork for his exploration of dreams in film. Whilst memories rather than dreams are his focus, the way the film is shot makes it seem as though we are in some kind of dream world: characters disappear and reappear in different spaces, scenery is eradicated, beds appear in the middle of beaches... His follow-up to this was the brilliant Science of Sleep, and the clue, unlike with Eternal Sunshine, is in the title. At one stage, the adorable

THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP | GAUMONT INTERNATIONAL

ALL IS DREAM - TOM BROWN


“IT USES THE OLDEST TRICK IN THE BOOK, EMPLOYING SIGUR RÓS MUSIC IN ORDER TO MAKE IT WATCHABLE.”

Gael Garcia Bernal shows us how dreams are prepared: his recipe includes random thoughts, reminiscences of the day, and memories from the past. The ever quirky Bernal quickly looks up at the camera and confirms: “That’s for two people.” His character, Stephane, believes he can record his own dreams, and the film frequently combines and confuses reality and fantasy. And here we have the most classic use of dream in film: dream as fantasy. It contrasts with the usually monotonous reality of the day to day life and provides an escape for both characters and audience. Another superb, nay, perfect, example of this is Pan’s Labyrinth. Day dreaming is perhaps the most common form of fantasy and imagination, and is common in films. (Though not a film, it is impossible for the educated of us not to immediately think of J.D. from Scrubs any time the words ‘day dreaming’ are mentioned.) So there we have it. Dreams play a multitude of roles and purposes throughout the cinematic spectrum, whether it be in horror twist endings, such as The Descent, or escapist fantasy, such as the highly underrated Arizona Dream. They can be clichéd and obvious, they can be ambiguous and confusing, and this is where they are most effective. I can recommend no film that’s centrally concerned with dreams above The Science of Sleep. Any film with the innocuous line: “I like your boobs... they’re friendly and unpretentious,” has to be a winner...




NEVER TO BE REPEATED? CHARLES E. BAYLIS



HOLLYWOOD WILL NEVER REPLACE the twin legends of Marlon Brando and James Dean, to understand why, many facts and theories must be measured out, as a consequence the aim of this article is to explain exactly why Hollywood shall never uncover another Dean or another Brando, the words I scribble in this magazine are not necessarily fact, they are however, as Bob Dylan once sang ‘true like ice like fire’, they are my opinionated truths, I hope you enjoy reading them. Primarily both actors were highly seductive men; they had mesmerizing appeal to creatures of all sexes. Brando and Dean paraded around Hollywood oozing irresistible sex appeal, furthermore oozing their raucous dramatic quality. On studying Marlon Brando’s eyes you will discover they are, in fact, pure ooze. Brando and Dean were undoubtedly the finest actors of their respective generations, James Dean straddled Brando generation wise, arriving on the scene slightly after Brando did, but they were famous at the same time. Dean and Brando studied at the same drama school, the elite ‘Actor’s Studio’ in New York, whose famous alumni include Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson and, gulp, Hayden Christensen. Although Brando and Dean never studied together, it does go some length to explaining their similarity in on-screen style, as they were both versed by Lee Strasberg in method acting. Considering the brief nature of his life and work, it remains fundamentally hard to put Dean into an acting generation, it would be true to say he was heavily influenced by Brando, as were most post war actors, in fact, a large share of


the critical audience duly dismissed Dean for being a Brando copyist. There is also a truth in saying that Dean idolized Brando, in interviews Marlon Brando often claimed he frequently received phone calls from an annoying young man named James Dean. Regardless of the small number of films dean made, three, or the high number of awfully rubbish movies the aging Marlon Brando churned out,

JAMES DEAN | CMG WORLDWIDE

“HE HAD MORE SMOULDER THAN THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON, AND FOR A WHILE OLD FASHIONED HOLLYWOOD COULDN’T PUT THE FIRE OUT” six, it is certainly true that Hollywood will never replace them. The current stream of talent less twits wilts next to Brando and Dean, just thinking about (Canterbury’s own – Ed.) Orlando Bland or, dear lord, washed up forty something Hugh Grant, in the same light makes me want to vomit. There are of course, some very talented actors in Hollywood at the moment, Johnny Depp has been at the top of his game, and a million miles above every other leading man’s game, for at least a decade now, though he has unfortunately become typecast as the edgy outsider. Jake Gyllenhaal is cool, convincing and has a charming on screen presence, but is not achingly talented like Brando or Dean. Daniel Day Lewis is another classic method acting figure, but he’s vastly overrated. Tom Cruise is just a joke. In order to become one of the most

respected actors of all time, Marlon Brando didn’t actually have to talk. For the first ten minutes of the motorbike rebel yell classic, The Wild Ones, which was Marlon Brando’s first lead role, he’s just sitting there, leathered up like the king of bondage, dead cool and silent as a muted monk. The soul movement of his lips is to add definition to his broody, alluring pout. Brando doesn’t talk, he exudes, even when he went mad on the set of Francis Ford Coppola’s nightmarish masterpiece Apocalypse Now, Brando still had this unseemly ability to say a thousand things without the movement of his full red lips. The young Marlon Brando was a hulk of a man, he had the frame of a boxer and the face of a beauty queen, pictures of him in a white shirt scandalized 1950s bible belt America, Brando had more smoulder than the great fire of London and for a while old fashioned Hollywood couldn’t put the fire out. He became a household name after his appearances as Terry Malloy in On The Waterfront and Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, it is in the former that Marlon Brando has his best lines, indeed, some of the most famous lines in cinematic history, “I coulda been a contender” he exclaims, maligned, distraught and heartbroken. James Dean, as I mentioned earlier, tragically only had a lifespan long enough for three feature films, this does have a noticeable advantage when comparing him to Brando, as James Dean didn’t actually have a chance to make a bad film. Each of the three films he starred in is a classic, particularly East of Eden, the adaption of John Steinbeck’s American masterpiece, which is an emotional tour de force and Dean’s best performance. East of Eden was directed by Elia Kazan, who also directed Brando in On the Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire, the film earned James Dean the first ever posthumous Oscar nomination. The star power of James Dean is best personified in Rebel Without A Cause, which is a film disappointingly limited in terms of plot and characterization, however James Dean, playing Jim Stark, absolutely defines the film, his teenage angst is compelling and utterly convincing. Dean alone makes the film worth watching, in his final film, Giant, the sexually ambiguous star gives a lesser performance, it is however, fascinating to see him acting opposite Elizabeth Taylor. James Dean also had the wonderful blessing of being able to carve beautiful language, so many of his quotes have become catchphrases, particularly “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today”. Other quotes of his have a hauntingly prophetic air about them “Live fast, die young, and have a beautiful looking corpse” Oscar Wilde might say that would be life imitating quote, as James Dean died in a car crash in 1955, aged just 24, like Marilyn Monroe, it was his untimely death, not his tremendous acting ability, which propelled him to superstardom. Hollywood will never find two actors with the same magnetizing sex appeal or the same rare allure as Marlon Brando or James Byron Dean. They were two individuals sculpted from special clay, irreplaceable, awe inspiring and utterly magnificent. Though it might be possible actors as talented could be discovered, there will never be another Marlon Brando or James Dean. 





IT’S A FREE WORLD... CLÉMENT PICHOT DE CHAMPFLEURY

WHEN IT COMES TO Art there is an old rivalry between those who consider art as a way to express what is going on in our world and those who consider that art should be a way to create new atmospheres, detached from our everyday world. Oscar Wilde once said about Emile Zola (a French writer, dedicated to social topics) that “he was determined to show that, if he has not got any genius, he can at least be dull”. I must admit that I often recall this quip when some filmmakers make realistic films, intending to make me realise how unfair our world is. That is why I did not really like Ken Loach’s It’s a Free World…. The way he dealt with the social issues of Eastern European workers annoyed me particularly. I found that the plot in itself was a kind of economics class, where you are taught how strong people are exploiting the weak. I do not deny that it might be a reality, but do we have to make a film about it? Honestly, I am already doing boring politics studies and when I go to the cinema, I do not expect to watch an overview of inequalities in Great Britain! Or at least, such topics can be treated, but within a plot worthy of being called a story. Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be denounces the Nazi regime, but remains nonetheless a fiction, with unexpected peripeteia, while in Ken Loach’s last film, it seems that the director only chose a disreputable spot, switched his camera on and made a film that we are supposed to like, as it reflects the inequalities of our modern world, and

make us feel guilty. As far as I am concerned, this is not what I call a film. Moreover, I did not find the characters interesting. Honestly, a woman fighting to raise her child despite her financial issues, it is such a cliché! And the heroine’s friend, who suddenly realizes that what she is doing is wrong, and who is worried all the time, gave me an incredible sense of deja-vu which is very annoying when one expects to see a new film, made by a well-known film maker. Not to mention, of course, the bad and powerful tycoons who control the system and exploit the poor heroine. Now, if one wants to make a film about today’s realities, one should not use the same stereotypes used forty years ago. And most of all, who cares about the story of this girl? Are we supposed to be concerned just because she has financial issues and a child to raise? Come on, she is not the only person in the world with these problems, there is nothing exceptional about that and thus there is no need to make a whole film about it. Film should not be about telling what is wrong in the world, there is already something called the media who make sure that we are always in touch with the world’s misery. Films are nowadays the most popular way to escape from our reality, so please do not spoil my relaxation time with engaged films dealing with everyday injustices. Now, I can understand that people love these kinds of films, because they reflect everyone’s troubles in life. And, of course, if you like Ken Loach films, you will love the way they are directed and written. But, as far as I am concerned, this kind of film is not what I expect of film, and I definitely consider that in It’s a Free World… Ken Loach has shown us not his genius, but his dullness.




“PEOPLE OFTEN FORGET HOW TIME CONSUMING AND TEDIOUS CGI IS”

EVER SINCE WATCHING BEOWULF (2007), I have been terrified for the future of modern cinema. Is this what is in store for us? Box office movies with the option of 3D for your viewing pleasure, a series of actors merely reduced to a number of pixels on a screen? We really are living in a digital age. We are consumed by technology. Computer animation, special effects, 3D, rotoscoping—sometimes it gets a bit difficult to keep up. Movies of our age are becoming more and more computerised. Computer animation began with West World (1973) an action SF thriller, directed by Michael Crichton. The use of 2D computer generated images made scenes with the robotic gunslings possible, if not realistic. Directors have been experimenting with CGI (computer generated imagery) ever since. We have had a range of CG influenced films since the mid 1970’s, including projects such as Jurassic Park (1993) which used some of the first photorealistic computer generated creatures in film history. The dinosaurs were integrated into live action, and as a result, produced scenes which have revolutionized the movie industry. And then there was Casper (1995) the first film to use an entirely computer generated protagonist to interact with the actors on screen. People often underestimate how much time, hard work and patience is needed for CGI, that it isn’t just automatically done on a computer, but a team of professionals who work especially hard, often for a number of years, to successfully perfect a computer generated image. 1995 saw the first fully computer generated film—Pixar’s Toy Story, marking Walt Disney’s transition from the traditional stop motion animation and conventional animation techniques to one that is digitally controlled, marking the end of frame-by-frame animation. Yet, this change came at a hefty price: a sky rocketing rise in film budgets for wide release, to an average of a whopping $40,000,000. Yet people often forget how time consuming and tedious CGI is- Toy Story for example was rendered at 1536x922, and each frame takes two to three hours to render. An entire film is rendered at 24 frames per second— 10

BEOWULF | WARNER BROS. PICTURES

CG INVASION - ABIGAIL EL-BEKAI


that is approximately 50 hours to render one second. CGI makes the impossible possible; Gladiator (2000) for example, re-creates the city of Rome, and the colosseum, as well as bringing Oliver Reed (who passed away during filming) back from the dead via CGI. Our century is the age of technology, for it is becoming the dominant form of special effects, and with the progression and advancement of animation, it is difficult (and almost impossible) to refrain from the use of CGI when it allows directors and producers to create the unfeasible. The most shocking use of computer generated imagery was the project Beowulf (2007)—I simply did not expect to see academy, golden globe, double emmy, triple BAFTA (and the list goes on) award winning actor Anthony Hopkins costumed completely in pixels. One might ask if this is going a bit too far? Is this what modern cinema has succumb to? Are directors relying too much on making a movie look ‘real’ that they effectively abandon the old fashioned beauty of acting? Well, at least Beowulf made a very tidy profit, unlike the pitiful, box office flop Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), the first film to attempt photorealistic CGI humans. Unfortunately, computer generated

imagery did not save this film with a loss running into the tens of millions. The question is; how much is too much? What is happening to modern cinema? Are we relying too much on CGI, forgetting the splendour of direction and acting? One might feel nostalgic looking back on projects that were simpler, like Gone With the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Gilda. What has happened to the great techniques of Hitchcock, ones based on diegesis, suspense/thriller methods and the use of a good old-fashioned camera? Like it or not, CGI is here to stay, to bring to the audience more fictional worlds in ways we haven’t seen before.

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GREAT COMEDY? IT’S ALL ABOUT CHARACTER DAMIAN WRIGLEY

RECENTLY THE GOVERNMENT HAS started to aim its legislation gun, once again, at students. This time they’re telling us that we drink to much, and if isn’t too much trouble we should all do it far less, otherwise by the time we get our degree our skin will be a Dulux shade of yellow and our liver will be about as functional as democracy in a dictatorship. If you’re wondering why our lives are coming under scrutiny once again, then here’s the answer: everyone is jealous as hell of students. Think about it – what responsibility do you have? Nothing, not really anyway; turn up at 10am once a week to a lecture, take a few notes, go home and pretend to read, then go out in the evenings and have fun. We have no career to worry about, no kids to feed or mortgage to pay. It is completely and utterly the best lifestyle we’ll ever have. Sure, when you’re older you’ll have more money, but you’ll have responsibilities, things to do that actually matter. By comparison, we don’t – if you got organised you could get a weeks work done in less then a day. ONE DAY. How cool is that?! All we live for is having fun, and fun is one element University can deliver in simply epic amounts. Because of this, everyone hates students. But, should we really be allowed to have this much fun? Life after all is a serious business, and perhaps we should let old Brown and his bunch of killjoy ministers tell us what to do – so go on, get off Facebook, join a community action group and,

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“NOWADAYS A GOOD COMEDY MOVIE DOESN’T HAVE FOLLOW THE GUISE OF: MAN MARRIES GOAT, HILARITY ENSUES”


UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE | NAUGHTY DOG

for crying out loud, sober up. So, what’s the answer to all this bullying? Well, we can take a lesson from the Governments anti-drugs people, and just say no. But, you may be thinking, what has all this go to do with comedy? Here then, we arrive at the central theme of this article. If you’re as astute as, well okay not me, but the person who suggested this title to me, you’ll have noticed that recently, spreading like a non-harmful disease, or SARS as it was known, is ‘the indirect comedy film’. Nowadays a good comedy movie doesn’t have follow the guise of ‘man marries goat, hilarity ensues’, or Will Ferrell claiming that San Diego means a ‘whale’s vagina’. Rather, we can get a damned good laugh out of a movie dressed up in action or glossed in a healthy amount of CGI goodness. Obviously the best comedy is still to be found in an actual comedy movie, because they are designed to make you laugh. But don’t be so sure that every time you pop to the cinema to get a laugh, you will. Look at some examples: Die Hard 4.0 was a damned site funnier then The Simpsons Movie and some of the best examples of wit come from Mr Bond himself. Herein lies the trick, it’s all down to the characters. Everyone knows a guy who “should’ve been a standup comedian”, the person whose wit is faster then a bullet and has a personality that exudes from them more then BO from a sweaty fat man, and it’s the job of the writers to come up with a character exactly like that as their main fellow or fellowess, because it’s someone we can relate to and then like. Take once again, John McClane, he seems like a stand up chap, he’d be good down the pub and, aside from the scrapes he seems to get into, he’d be a fun work colleague. His attitude to life is laid back, and even when all seems lost, he’s happy to make light of the situation with a witty comment that’s always spot on.

Half the charm of Indiana Jones is the fact that he is just a likable chap, you want him to be your Dad, don’t lie. He knows when to commit, and when it’s appropriate to shoot someone instead of having a long, drawn out sword battle with them – what’s the point in that?! That the writers create these characters is good news, because they are terrific role models for us. Obviously suggesting that a man who leaves his job for weeks at a time to pursue long-lost treasures and gun slinging cops are role models is going to get me into trouble, but before you write letters of hate and throw eggs at me, read on. They are good role models for some simple reasons: their personality and individuality. Do they let people tell them what to do? No. They get down to the job at hand using nothing but their own resources, whether that be a gun, a whip or a hat. When the going gets tough, they revert to their basic instincts, they are quick thinking and honed versions of themselves. Just like all of us free thinking individuals. Characters like these are the funniest ever created, and they preach good messages and values. What could be better than that? They show us that you can relax and take things easy, you’ll be okay. So don’t worry when the higher ups get on their high horse, it’s just because they aren’t happy, and we are. The message today then is simple – stick it to the man.

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WHAT LINKS SEX, MOTORBIKES, CANNIBALS, RACIAL STEREOTYPES AND NUNS WITH GUNS?

SO I STARTED WATCHING a film the other day. It was called Supervixens. It sounded interesting. I ‘IMDb’d it’ for good measure… read some comments about it being a little cheesy, a little trashy. But, being the open minded film viewer that I am, I gave it a shot. Trashy was an understatement. This film… is something else. The women are dressed in outfits of the tight, bright spandex variety… or else are not dressed in anything. Every time a woman of sexual finesse struts onto screen… she is accompanied by the glorious sounds of trumpets. In short, the music played at a burlesque stage show, or some variety of porno. We get constant close ups of breasts, arse, legs, cleavage, eyelashes that flutter insanely at our male protagonists. These are some things you tend to only think happen in a piss take, or a spoof. Supervixens isn’t spoofing anything. Welcome to the wonderful world of exploitation cinema. Exploitation films take a certain angle that is going to interest people - more often than not, a very niche audience - and then, to put it bluntly, shove it in your face. There’s not much regard to the quality of substance or style in these ones. It’s really all about just how much you can be exposed to the thing you set out to see, in the space of an hour and half. And these things will usually 14

tend to be, well, unusual… to say the very least. They certainly play on a niche interest… and perhaps fetishist or prurient obsession. These aren’t films that will just over amplify action, presenting us with scene upon scene of some juicy high testosterone chase. Neither will they constantly slather on something as overtly normal as a bit of comedy. They play on things much more diverse than that. Their audiences may take a fine interest in zombies or slashers, gore, cannibals… African American counter culture, motorbikes, nuns, even, as Supervixens has taught me - sex, (women…) in all it’s glorified sleaze. If, say, a group of filmmakers want to appeal to an audience that love motorbikes, they will make a lot

WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE NAME OF THIS FILM IS

NICOLA MARCHANT


of films that will over gratify us with lots of people on motorbikes. Thus, becoming, ‘bikesploitation’. I started watching Hells Angels on Wheels, and what these characters lacked in shirt busting cleavage, they made up for in Harley Davidsons and friends who all owned Harley Davidsons. This particular ’sploitation is from where the infamous Easy Rider spawned. And there’s a hell of a lot of bike action in that film. The point of exploitation is that they were made with as much of a low budget as possible, and with the main motive of making money. Not an alien concept to the idea of film making, it being an art form that has developed the primary function to entertain, much like the studio system of classic Hollywood. It is also strange that Easy Rider will often get

5 stars, whereas Hells Angels on Wheels goes by unnoticed. During the ‘70s there was a selection of films that concentrated a lot on cannibals, hence the genre ‘cannibal exploitation’. Cannibal Holocaust was one of the most infamous people eating gore fests to spawn from this period. A selection of European filmmakers of the ‘70s made their main protagonists nuns. That’s nunsploitation. Supervixens is, of course, sexploitation. The gratuitous close ups of cleavage, the completely sleazified porn music as a theme tune to any and every movement the girls may make: pure sleaze. And it wasn’t the first of it’s kind. It isn’t the only one of it’s kind. Before it came, of course, just plain Vixens, and the cult classic, Faster Pussycat Kill Kill!. There are some majorly well known films that fall under exploitation cinema… The infamous ‘Shaft’ is a prime example of blaxploitation. Focusing largely on African American culture… but in a highly stereotypical and exaggerated fashion. Blaxploitation is like taking a gentle walk through a Harlem ghetto in the ‘70s, and thinking it is so utterly, utterly cool. Pure slices of over gratuitous slick. The protagonists are simply bathing in their glorious black culture. And the filmmakers waste no time in showing this at every opportunity. Shaft has the lingo, Shaft is every stereotyped view of African American culture rolled into one… ‘you aint gonna do SHIT!’ - ‘DAMN!’. He’s the ‘private black dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks…’ and the hero of blaxploitation cinema. ‘Foxy Brown’ is the heroine. She’s a blaxploitation icon and, like Shaft, she is equally blaxploitational in her catch phrases ‘you pink ass corrupt honky judge!’ … ‘you under arrest, sugar!’. Exploitation cinema is hardly around any more. The sleaze and transparency of over gratuitous subject matter over any creative process whatsoever was apparently something much easier to get away with in the ‘70s. Unless, of course, the term ‘CGIsploitation’ is ever created… it’s unlikely a film is going to come out of the Industry today and be labelled as an exploitation. Tarantino and Rodriquez’s Grindhouse was mimicking the style of the gore and slasher-sploitations of the ‘70s… though since they were actively doing this, in some creative way or another – they can’t be called exploitation. In the same way that Sister Act isn’t really nunsploitation. It does, arguably, have a bit of a plot line to it. But it is always good to know that you can watch a sexsploitation film, commend it for it’s trashiness, and perhaps even get off on it a little bit and not feel too bad - as it isn’t quite pornography. You can watch a blaxploitation film and feel cool. If you develop an unnatural obsession for Harley Davidsons, you can tap into some bikesploitation and reveal your inner leather jacketed tough man. As noughties viewers, we have come to expect everything from a film. But, sometimes it’s good to know that, if we dig around in a video archive on Ebay we can still watch some pure unadulterated trash. A guilty pleasure, no doubt - but that’s exactly why they were made. Our prurience for the strange, fetishist and completely insane… deserves a visual treat like the wonderful world of exploitation cinema.

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BIGLENS Issue 4.4  

Issue 4.4! Why Hollywood can never produce another Dean or Brando.

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