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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Zoo (2007, ***)

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG . “Little Miss Chris Marker” this is not. Robinson Devor’s darkly bruised essay film on taboo, Zoo, finds him rejoining the writer, Charles Mudede, and cinematographer Sean Kirby, who together made the hypnotic slice of Pacific Northwest weirdness, Police Beat (2005). There’s some murkiness about which of the actual participants zoofphield.jpgin the events are heard or seen on film, and I’m content to consider it a fictional essay. Zoo, follows the reaction in the Washington after a gathering of “zoophiles,” who gathered on a ranch to have sex with horses, which was then legal in that state, led to the death of one man, whose handle, possibly from AOL, was “Mr. Hands” from a perforated colon. (There are three incredibly brief and distant bursts of imagery that are explicit.) As a succession of impressionistic reenactments, Zoo, visually, is one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen this year. The way one image follows another is often majestically constructed, which makes one wonder what they will do next with a less unsavory subject. The fleet, assured, satisfying editing is very busy, with intermittent traveling shots that hold the weight of gravity. Dark color and shadow are bolder in Zoo, than brightest light. (The ecstatic fracture of Olivier Assayas’ Demonlover (2002) also comes to mind.) Perhaps the taboo transgressed here is not bestiality, but the boundaries of cinematic genre. It’s unsettling more in its stylistic extremes than its ostensible subject matter of taboo otherness and self-justifying perversion. At moments, it also resembles a Clare Denis project photographed by fine arts photographer Gregory Crewdson. [Zoo expands to Austin on May 25.]

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch