BUFF 2010 pays homage to cinematic fromage
LOVE EXPOSURE Can a film about "peek-a-panty photos" be too long?
The Boston Underground Film Festival has a knack for showing you things you've never seen before (not to mention things you can never un-see, such as the sentient penis jackhammering its way through sheetrock in last year's headlining Bad Biology). BUFF 2010 proves no exception, starting with the exquisitely weird opening-night entry, LOVE EXPOSURE (2008; March 25 at 7 pm).
Then again, somebody's been watching Japanese director Shion Sono's demented brainchild, as this 237-minute comic epic has become something of a festival darling. Hailing from the same fevered brain that dreamed up J-horror cult hits Suicide Club and Exte: Hair Extensions, Sono's latest is a giddy, occasionally bloody ramble through the life of Yu (Takahiro Nishijima), a Bible-thumping teenager who spends his days mastering the martial art of taking upskirt photos and searching for an earthly Virgin Mary to be his girlfriend. Although at 237 minutes it's much, much longer than any movie about "peek-a-panty photos" has any right to be, Love Exposure proves mesmerizing.
Less strange but far more traumatizing is Andrew Drazek's CUMMINGS FARM (2009; March 28 at 6:45 pm; March 31 at 9:30 pm), a tale of three fucked-up couples who, at the behest of spouses Todd (screenwriter Ted Beck) and Tina (Laura Silverman, sister of Sarah Silverman), convene at a farmhouse for a weekend orgy. What they get instead is a night full of crushing awkwardness and bizarre tirades ("You gotta fester the vibe like a herpe in the sun"). A smug, quip-happy cast threatens to sink the film at its outset, but as the plot lurches forward, the characters start to resolve into people you actually care about — even the MDMA-addled alcoholic foot fetishist who ruins the night with a wayward cumshot.
Steve Balderson's STUCK! (2009; March 27 at 7:30 pm; March 29 at 9:30 pm) is a campy send-up of the classic women-in-prison exploitation genre. After taking the fall for her mother's grisly suicide, blonde naïve Daisy (Starina Johnson) gets locked up in the clink with a pack of harlots and harpies (plus Mink Stole as a paranoid Jesus freak). Cue a deluge of atrocious Southern accents, bloody catfights, and stagy soliloquies. The outright hamminess will either delight you or have you white-knuckling your armrest for 90 minutes.
This year's fest also takes an opportunity to get meta, with two documentaries about filmmaking on the fringes. One is IT CAME FROM KUCHAR (2009; March 26 at 7:45 pm; April 1 at 7:30 pm), Jennifer Kroot's portrait of indie-cinema icons George and Mike Kuchar. These Bronx-born twins broke into the experimental-film scene around the same time as Andy Warhol — only instead of pretentious art films, the Kuchars were busy churning out goofy gems like Sins of the Fleshapoids. In addition to the fascinating first-hand reminiscences from these hopelessly weird (and utterly charming) brothers, you get to hear fanboy John Waters rhapsodize about how they influenced Pink Flamingos.
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