Monday, July 19, 2021

Spiste horisonter (1950)

... aka: Eaten Horizons
... aka: Eaten Horizonts
... aka: Gegessene Horizonte
... aka: Horizons mangés

Directed by:
Wilhelm Freddie
Jørgen Roos

I wonder why "surreal" isn't considered a legitimate film genre? I mean, that makes much more sense to me than having a useless genre like "thriller," which is little more than a generic blanket term for already established genres like action, crime, suspense and horror. Anytime someone refers to something as a thriller, I never even know what kind of film to expect. On the other hand, I do have a good idea what I'm getting with a surreal film even though they're all over the map as far as tone, execution and content are concerned. These are imagery-based pieces where perplexing and often seemingly-unrelated images are to work on a more subconscious level or represent something to the filmmaker but don't necessarily mean so much to your average everyday moviegoer. While some people enjoy spending time trying to decipher the puzzle or extract their own meaning or have their subconscious mind stimulated, others are like "WTF. Whatever," shrug in confusion and move on with their lives.

Nowadays, I've noticed that a lot of surreal films, for lack of a better place to put them, are being thrown into the horror genre and I suppose that's as good a place as any. Even though many disagree with me, I've always considered stuff like Luis Buñuel's Un Chien Andalou (1929) and Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid's Meshes of a Afternoon (1943) to be at least partially horror. Furthermore, surrealists always look for memorable imagery that will stick with the viewer. The more bizarre, graphic, uncomfortable, unnerving, shocking and / or subversive, the better. That often lands these pieces in the horror genre as well.

This one consists of about three minutes of weird stuff that's seemingly random but probably symbolic of something. A woman is fastened to a black wall with white pieces of fabric. An arm with sun and scorpion tattoos draws shapes in a dark puddle of blood. Two men (played by the directors) sit at a table. One has his foot rested on a loaf of bread that disappears. The loaf of bread reemerges inside a room then appears on a silver platter and then appears on the chest of a nude woman. White boxes then flash on top of the woman's legs.

The two men show up, roll the woman onto her stomach, remove a rectangular cut of skin from her back and inside is... MANWICH! A bubbling pot of Manwich! Well, at least it looks a lot like the Manwich I had for dinner a few weeks ago. The men dip spoons into it and eat it and then refuse to tell us what they're eating so I'm then forced to sit here and think about what they're eating and wonder if it's some kind of Danish dish I've never heard of before or if Sloppy Joe's have been around longer than I thought. One of the men then sticks his arm into the back hole and removes the loaf of meat-sauce soaked bread. We then enter a small room where a ball bounces around, cutouts of kid's beaming faces appear and the kids cheer. Nursery music then plays as the bread spins around, opens up and then more meaty goodness comes oozing out. The end.

I'm sure this has something to do with men consuming / using women and then knocking them up and then the loaf is supposed to be the bouncing baby-bread bi-product of the bonking or something. I wish I had more time to sit here and think about it in greater detail, but I've already spent too much time on Google trying to find out when Sloppy Joe's were invented (apparently in the 1940s) and when Manwich was first sold in stores (that would be 1969).

Roos did an absolutely brilliant job shooting Carl Theodor Dreyer's great short They Caught the Ferry (1949), which was made to promote road safety, and went on to a long career as a documentary filmmaker that lasted up until his death in 1998. Co-director Freddie was a controversial artist (mostly a sculptor and painter) whose art pieces were often banned as pornography. Some of his other work was highly critical of fascism and Nazism, so he was forced to flee his home country during WWII and hide out in Sweden. He passed away in 1995.

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