By Holly Wallace
The October issue of Rust just hit stands. In conjunction with our piece on independent video shops, we present you five films to rent from indy video shops. Check them out below.
1. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) – Shin’ya Tsukamoto
I first saw Tetsuo in my Film Genres and Styles course my junior year in college. It was disgusting, disturbing and strangely comical. The film opens with a man, known only as the Metal Fetishist, graphically slicing his own leg open and shoving a metal rod into it. Cult-film director Shin’ya Tsukamoto blends horrifying dream sequences with the surreal world he has created inside this cyberpunk film. To my horror, we had to watch this film twice in order to write our final papers. Yet upon second viewing, I was entranced by the film’s inability to be categorized into a single genre. I cringed, I laughed, I practically vomited, yet simultaneously felt a strong desire to dance along to the Japanese punk soundtrack.
2. Sabotage (1936) – Alfred Hitchcock
Oscar-winning director William Friedkin (The Exorcist) once said in an interview that aspiring filmmakers should just quit film school and watch Hitchcock. And that’s because Hitchcock is truly a master, not only of suspense, but also of auteur cinema—of creating a unique brand for himself as a director. Every film he’s ever made is distinctly Hitchcock. I caught Sabotage a few weeks ago at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison as part of the Cinematheque’s Fall Alfred Hitchcock Series. Hitchcock adapted the film from Joseph Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent—a thriller about an undercover detective hot on the trail of a saboteur intending to set off a bomb in bustling London.
3. Mulholland Drive (2001) – David Lynch
David Lynch, creator of the cult television drama Twin Peaks, writes darkness like poetry—transcendental, elaborate, unsettling and ultimately, honest. I first sawMulholland Drive, a neo-noir mystery about an actress trying to make it in Hollywood, as a homework assignment for my screenwriting course. To be completely honest, I had no fucking clue what was going on. I read the chapter in our book. I scoured the web. Still, I was confused. I realized that there is no answer. Lynch himself refuses to comment on the meaning of the film, offering just the tagline: “A love story in the city of dreams.” Rent it and let me know your theory because I’m still working on mine.
4. Buffalo ’66 (1998) – Vincent Gallo
I rented Buffalo ’66 a few weeks ago from Four Star Video Heaven in Madison. Nick Propheter, co-owner of the shop, glanced knowingly at the title. He began to tell me how much he hated the director, Vincent Gallo. Gallo supposedly sells his semen online and advertises dates with himself for women to purchase. I was beginning to have second thoughts about my rental choice. But Propheter went on to say that he just can’t help it, he loves Buffalo ’66. So I gave it a shot, and you know what, I love it too. Gallo tells the story of Billy Brown, a man who kidnaps a young tap dancer to bring to his parents’ home so they’ll believe the lie that he’s married. Brown, played by Gallo, is both incredibly repellent and piercingly likeable.
5. Band of Outsiders (1964) – Jean-Luc Godard
I fell hard for director Jean-Luc Godard the first time I saw Breathless, his debut film integral to both the French New Wave and European Art Cinema. It sounds a little pretentious: art cinema. But in reality, European Art Cinema is simply the rejection of mainstream film norms. Down with Hollywood, down with John Wayne and down with all the Cinemascope glam. Give me something real. And Godard does just that. Band of Outsiders is a fun film about some wannabe criminals who get up to no good. Plus there’s a fantastic dance scene.