time out review

4th October 2000
Nick Bradshaw

Fearlessly disregarding cinema's generally hapless history of portmanteau films, this genuinely no-budget collabroation between members of Exploding Cinema and Filmgruppe Chaos - 'the notorious no-bility of Underground Cinema' - takes a cleaver to the Comte de Lautréamont's 1868 pre-surrealist anti-novel 'Maldoror'.

Fifteen film-makers were dispatched into the night with but a chapter of the book (a vile, nightmarish poetic paean to the author's Satanic alter-ego) and a Super 8 camera to their name; 12 have returned, and from the cauldron of their labours, delivered forth this wild and bewildering affront to common civilised cinema.

Dissonant and depraved, it's of course a motley stew, the individual shorts variously indigestible, inconsequential, inventive, evocative, comic, pornographic, illicit and ridiculous, linked only by an overload of narration from the book.

Cumulatively, the effect's akin to both a good night at a film club, and a disorienting trip into the head of a stark raving misanthrope. In the film-makers' own words: "Despite its subject matter Maldoror is perhaps the most realisitic feature film ever made, for although the big budget mutiplex features strain with every tense and twisted fibre to conjure a world of carefree spontaneity they cannot compete with the reality of filmmakers who really don't give a fuck."

Hard to argue with that.