Sunday, January 10, 2016

In short: The Editor (2014)

In the last few years, filmmakers have tended to make their love for the giallo more explicit, some aiming for your typical homages (take your pick), some using the visual style and some of the themes as jumping off points for art house mediations on everything or nothing (like Amer), others to critique the genre and think it further (see Berberian Sound Studio).

Astron-6’s Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy parody the genre through over-immersion in all of its tropes and signifiers while also adding a bit of the most loopy side of the Italian horror movie. The immersion technique used is so diligent, the film was shot without sound and – like the Italian movies it relates to – dubbed in the studio with sentence structures and line deliveries that are ever so slightly (or not so slightly) off, even to the owner of a German ear not unaccustomed to writing weird sentences like that himself. Every single scene here is staged, blocked, and lit right out of the (non-existing) giallo filmmaking handbook but moreso, the cast is getting the appropriate acting style (and fake facial hair) oh so right, unless they are Udo Kier, who does this sort of thing naturally anyway.

The resulting film is often very funny, clearly (just look at the number of quotes and nods towards the original films and how well they are done) highly knowledgeable of the genre it parodies by turning its many absurdist elements even more absurd and pointing out some of its obvious subtexts; and because it is just as weird and as weirdly intense as the genre it’s working on/off, it also manages to be just as dream-like and fascinating as the best of its Italian forebears. Because of this, The Editor doesn’t work so much like a normal parody of the giallo but as a film aiming to be the Ultra-Giallo (kaiju filmmakers, please phone me) while staying conscious of the absurdity of this endeavour.

Needless to say, I loved the film all the way through to the appropriately bizarre twist ending. All fears this might be based on smug superiority over the genre its working with I might have had turned out to be completely unfounded, for this is a labour of love as much as it is a parody. Or at least it very much feels like that.

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