Friday 27 July 2012

Cosas feas (2010)

Director: Isaac Ezban
Stars: Miguel Couturier, Aida Torres, Julia Carrillo, Victor Bonila and Mijael Askenazi

Kriko Krakinsky's childhood entered a metaphorical minefield when he attended his first sexual awareness class. It isn't immediately obvious why he bounces up and down nervously like he's masturbating under the table and then runs out of the room soon after Dr Narroza starts to explain the anatomy of the human penis, but the story is our explanation. And what a story! This is one of those rare gems that is unlikely to be like anything you've ever seen before. Cosas feas, which appropriately translates from the Spanish as Nasty Stuff, is a Mexican short film by writer/director Isaac Ezban, but it plays out far more like a Eastern European movie, full of wonder, surrealism and the outright bizarre. Mijael Askenazi debuted here as Kriko Krakinsky and it's going to be a hard act to follow because there just aren't many films that are as truly out there as this one. A David Lynch film would feel like Disney after this. He's going to have to find Jodorowsky to go a step further.

Most of the film is shot through a fish eye lens which turns almost everyone and everything into a caricature, especially his freaky family. Only Kriko seems normal because he's almost always seen right in the centre where there's no distortion. His dad works in a bank and his mum is a housewife but that only sounds normal right now because you haven't seen this picture yet. His elder brother Erbert is the most bullied nerd in school but still manages to get some every night from his long term girlfriend Filda, who looks rather like a cavewoman. That's how surreal this movie is from the outset, sort of like casting Eddie Deezen as Hugh Hefner in a biopic and playing it straight. And it gets consistently further out there as the 29 minutes run on. Honest. This film was shot as Ezban's thesis project at the Universidad Iberoamericana and it isn't surprising to find that his influences included David Cronenberg, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Terry Gilliam. Yet the feel of the picture was inspired by Ed Wood, hence the narration and the artificial film aging effects.
Nothing I can tell you here will prepare you for this film. If you take that as a compliment, you're going to love it, even before you get to see the mutant vagina that took prosthetics expert Alfredo Garcia (yes, really) four months to design and build. It was inspired by H R Giger and medical volumes detailing skin diseases. If that sentence sounds ominous to you, then you really don't want to go any further. If you're a member of the moral majority I should point out that this is a film all about sexual coming of age and could be described as a paedophile bestiality movie with cripples and aliens to boot, but you wouldn't believe me and I certainly can't be bothered to press the issue. Let's just say that whenever I've imagined Mexican movies about illegal aliens, they looked a lot more like Machete and a lot less like this. Shot in twelve days by a man driven to keep his cinematic vision intact, it bodes very well indeed for his future in psychotronic cinema.

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