(Handshake Inc/ Relapse Records)
By Daniel Cairns
Disgorge, Mexico isn’t your average music video. There’s no Telephone style product placement here. The closest it gets to that is when a woman pisses into a bottle of lager.
Yep! It’s a beauty.
First things first, Davids Hall and Carduso didn’t have an easy undertaking making this film. Trying to make a film around an album, particularly a vicious buggery of an album like Disgorge Mexico is always going to be a fucking twat of an undertaking. And often ill advised. I remember when I was 13 years old I wanted to make a movie around Radiohead‘s OK Computer. Involving aliens and ghosts and shit. It would have been rubbish because everyone’s retarded when they’re 13.
Anyhoo, trying to construct a cohesive narrative around a batshit grind album is going to be fucking hard. However, the Davids have managed it.
Well, I say that, but I seriously don’t think I have a fucking clue what’s happening in the film itself. So you’re going to have to rely on my pretty dense interpretation. Sorry.
Basically, the focus of the story is a very pretty blonde woman (who I’m pretty sure is a lesbian, judging by the amount of time she’s copping off with other women), who gets wrapped up in all sorts of bad shit. Substances, self destruction, misanthropy, lots of awful stuff. Or good stuff if you’re that way inclined. Anyway, she’s walking along with who I presume to be her girlfriend (another pretty woman, this time with pink hair. She looks like Jane Goldman a bit. Go google her. Seriously, I can wait five minutes. You frenzied wanker).
Then shit goes off. In a big way.
I won’t ruin it too much, but we get murder, eldritch fellas in robes, a man dancing in his underwear, defecating on the dead, and a woman giving birth to (or shitting out) something bordering on the Lovecraftian.
Loathe as I am to use the cliche, it’s a headfuck.
I’m a wanker when it comes to movies. I wouldn’t say I’m a snob, as I’m probably more likely to watch fucking Van Helsing than The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but I think I can recognise when something’s good or not. I watched films at Uni for three and a half years like, so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about. Even though it’s a fucking useless wasted degree but aaaaanyway.
Messrs Hall and Carduso’s movie is definitely inspired by the artier end of the spectrum. In some ways, it reminded me of E Elias Merhige’s Begotten. Like that movie Disgorge, Mexcico is without dialogue, extremely bleak and utterly confounding, though Disgorge, Mexico doesn’t feature a character called God Killing Himself, and is clearly the poorer for it. But Begotten also featured riffs on ritualism and self destruction (albeit a much more pagan interpretation).
Both movies are predominately fixated on sex, death and rebirth too. More than once in Disgorge, Mexico we’re shown scenes where someone’s getting fucked, beaten or murdered. It’s edited in such a way though (I hope so anyway, otherwise my interpretation is going to look pretty cornball) as to appear ambiguous, showing the obvious primal link between sex and violence. It’s like when you walk in on your parents, and you wonder why your Dad’s wrestling your Mum. Erm… Also the aforementioned birth scene is as nightmarish as anything conjured up by any number of auteurs.
However! Though thematically linked to Merhige’s arthouse masterpiece, David Hall is a different beast directorially. Where Merhige is sedate, and lets scenes cultivate and breathe, further reinforcing the organic, naturalistic themes of his movie, Hall is like a snarling supercharged PCPed up bulldog, arguably reflecting the chemical-addled, fucked up insanity of early 21st century existence. Barely does a shot last any more than a few seconds. Basically, if you’re epileptic, don’t watch, as you’ll have the mother of all seizures.
It can get a bit much. Many a time I had to avert my stupid sensitive eyes when some mad camera trick was in play, and there’s sometimes an over reliance on flashiness (for instance there’s a hell of a lot of strobe editing used, which gets utterly bewildering) but the fact that Handshake Inc. have made a movie around an album and not fucked up (in fact, quite the opposite) deserves mucho kudos. That I was driven to spout a load of ill informed pseudo toss about the movie can only be to the director’s credit.
It’s disturbing, confusing, utterly disgusting and veeeeery scary in bits. I liked it lots!
I still have no idea what the dancing man in his underwear represented though.
Also I hate having to score this, as putting a mark on something like this is like dancing about robots, but if I have to…