Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Greg Klymkiw Expertly Dissects American Mary

"The scalpel enters a full, fleshy breast and delicately, almost sensually circles the areola's entirety whilst blood oozes out, the surgeon's fingers gently tracing her handiwork. 
Both nipples are eventually removed. 
The next procedure involves surgically removing all physical receptors of pubic ecstasy and stitching shut the vagina of the aforementioned nipple-bereft body, save, of course, for the smallest allowable opening for the expulsion of urine. 
The surgeon is spent, stunned, but satisfied - secure in the knowledge that her first stab (so to speak) at body modification is a success. The client eventually expresses sheer joy over her all-new sexually adhedonic state; how perfectly she's been able to fulfil her own personal essence of womanhood via the excision of those physical extremities which alternately offer enticement and pleasure. Whatever you say, babe. In the words of Marlo Thomas: "Free to be you and me." 
Can movies possibly get any better than this?"
I read this introduction to Greg Klymkiw of Greg Klymkiw's Film Corner several times as I loved the description so wholly. Often after a screening of AMERICAN MARY, I will find people describing the film to a friend that was not in attendance and the reenactment of the events that unfold in the film are such a treat to hear from another story teller. This was a treat as such. A big one.

Now, if you are on the fence about whether this might be a film for you or if you are unsure what 'this kind of film' would even be like, I implore you to read the entire film professor quality review of the film that Greg has written. But first one more delicious morsel that I really fucking dug.

"What sells the film is the world the Soska Sisters create. It's seldom obvious and more often than not we believe it - or at least want to. In many ways, the film is similar to the great early work of Walter Hill (pretty much anything from The Warriors to Streets of Fire) wherein he created worlds that probably could ONLY exist on film, but within the context of the respective pictures, seldom felt less than "real". (That said, Hill was ALWAYS showy, but he knew how to make it intrinsic to the dramatic action.) This makes a lot of sense, since it always feels like the Soska Twins are making movies wherein those worlds that exist realistically on-screen, but furthermore evoke a feeling that the film has been wrought in a much different (and probably better) age than ours. 
Dead Hooker in a Trunk and especially American Mary, seem to exist on a parallel plane to those halcyon days of 70s/80s edginess reflected in the Amos Poe New York "No Wave" - not to mention other counter culture types who straddled the underground and the mainstream - filmmakers like Scorsese, Rafelson, Waters, Jarmusch, et al who exploded well beyond the Jim Hoberman-coined "No Wave". Their work even approaches a bit of the 80s cult sensibilities of Repo Man, Liquid Sky or even such generational crossover titles as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet) and the deranged work of more contemporary directors like Eli Roth, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino - all of whom "steal", to varying degrees, from earlier periods of film history, but use the work of previous Masters as a springboard to make the pictures all their own. (By the way, I'm not necessarily suggesting American Mary is culled from any of the aforementioned but rather, that the Soska Twins are clearly working in the same sort of exciting territory. It's especially dazzling when it's within a burgeoning stage of their development as film artists.) 
A number of the cast members are truly first-rate. Katharine Isabelle as Dr. Mary has come long and far from her groundbreaking performance in the classic John Fawcett-Karen Walton werewolf picture Ginger Snaps. Here she delivers a courageous performance on a par with her turn as the cursed teen werewolf back in 2000. It's 12 years later and Isabelle has blossomed into a tremendously engaging screen personality. The camera might actually love her even more now that she's gained considerable physical maturity (and the Soska Twins have definitely used their four great eyes to work with their cinematographer Brian Pearson's additional two eyes to add to her stunning, real-woman looks). Isabelle's 12 years of toil in mainly television has given her a myriad of roles and experience, but in American Mary, her brave, deadpan (and often very funny) delivery blended with moments where the character is clearly repressing anything resembling emotion is the kind of thesping that demands more roles as terrific as this one. Please, get this woman out of Television Hell and put her on the big screen where she belongs." 

And a huge and humble thanks to Greg for writing such an in-depth review on the film with such a tapestry of commentary on the film, its roots, where it was coming from, and what it was like to view.

Also, you put us in the same sentences as many of our horror heroes that got us into filmmaking in the first place. To reference Willem Dafoe's character in THE LIFE AQUATIC when Ned put him next to the dolphin - "I didn't just like it!" *salutes*


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