Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

GEORGES BATAILLE'S STORY OF THE EYE
Directed & Produced by: Andrew Repasky McElhinney.
Written by: Dan Buskirk, Melissa Elizabeth Forgione, Les Rek, Andrew Repasky McElhinney, Sean Timothy Sexton, Courtney Shea, Telly, Bosco Younger.
Director of Photography: Dan Buskirk, Les Rek, Bosco Younger.
Edited by: Charlie Mackie.
Music by: Paul David Bergel.
Released by: ARM/Cinema 25.
Country of Origin: USA. 75 min. Not Rated.
With: Melissa Elizabeth Forgione, Querelle Haynes, Sean Timothy Sexton, Courtney Shea, Claude Barrington White.

According to an intertitle quote by French iconoclast Georges Bataille (1897-1962), "Arranging narrative is a bourgeois narrative." So perhaps it is fitting that this riff of a film has a free-form structure. There is literally no story or coherent theme to speak of, only in-your-face assaultive images and sounds. Inspired by but not based upon Bataille's sexually graphic novella Story of the Eye, director Andrew McElhinney dares the viewer to look away from the very beginning during a mock reenactment of Bataille's birth (actually archival footage of a breach birth with blood, forceps and all). After a brief summary of the writer's life, the dream-like, sexually-charged imagery takes over. A slim, bleach-blond white sailor boy with a Prince Albert is dominated by his black, leather-clad daddy. A topless, blindfolded female dancer stumbles upon a chained woman, frees her from her cage, and continues to feel her way around, so to speak. Like porn, the sex here is mechanical, wordless, flatly lit (it is shot on video), and ultimately dull. Even the synthesizer score is generic.

The carnality is anything but titillating. With its cast of blasť, bruised, tattoo-adorned and shell-shocked refugees drifting about a decrepit setting, this is more like apocalyptic porn. Although doubtlessly provocative, the repetitive tone and "action" is a test of patience. I for one failed. Kent Turner
September 22, 2004

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