"Copraphagy" is a key word at this year's Boston Underground Film Festival at the Brattle. It crops up in the opening night film, Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson's I Declare War (2012; March 27@ 7:30 pm), in which a kid defines the term, correctly, as shit eating, and then invites the boy whom he is bullying to demonstrate. The practice comes up again in Kim Ki-duk's Pieta (2012; March 30 @ 2:45 pm). And still a dozen more films to see. John Waters would be proud.
Shit eating aside, War is a game in which kids act out a battle, their toy guns transformed into the real thing by their imagination. There are strict rules, mastered by PK (Gage Munroe), the game's Napoleon. But Skinner (Michael Friend), who can't compete, changes them, and the game enters Lord of the Flies territory. A girl (Mackenzie Munroe) also participates; she's smarter than the boys, but unfortunately for her, and the film, she has a crush on one of them.
True to its title, Kim's Pieta explores the theme of maternal mourning. The mother here comes out of nowhere to reclaim her son, abandoned in infancy. The boy, however, has grown up into a loan enforcer whose specialty is forcing debtors to take out insurance policies and then maim themselves, using the claims to repay the debt. He doesn't need a guilty mom bugging him. So he tests her love by forcing her to eat shit, among other unpleasant tasks. In the end, maternal love prevails, and it's horrible.
Lithuanian director Kristina Buozyte's Vanishing Waves (2012; March 31 @ 6 pm) takes on a different deviance, voyeurism. A new device allows a researcher to enter the mind of a comatose woman. There they engage in increasingly polymorphous perversity. "Objectivity is only a fetish of truth," notes a colleague. The alternative, though, is madness.
THE 15TH BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL | Brattle Theatre :: March 27-31