DVD Review: People's Broken Noses Compliment Their Broken Faces

By The Ultimate Dancing Machine
Posted 01/09/04 18:23:31

Arriving in my mailbox recently was a double-disc set titled PEOPLE’S BROKEN NOSES COMPLIMENT THEIR BROKEN FACES. It’s never a good omen when you find a grammatical error in the title; the word they’re groping for is “complement,” with an “e.” In any event, PEOPLE’S turns out to be a collection of independently made short films directed by a certain Matian, one of those single-name types, who hails from the “Milwaukee/Chicago area.” Overall, the set has a tossed-together feel, almost as if Matian picked these movies for inclusion at random while cleaning out his closet. They vary in quality—but the best of them are very much worth watching.

Matian’s aesthetic approach could be described as punk/industrial; his films alternate between caustic comedy and nihilistic gloom. He likes to load the soundtracks with random ambient noises a la Eraserhead; it’s often quite effective, and much of the time it’s more entertaining to listen to his movies than to watch them. For those who would rather do just that, the set includes a separate 55-minute soundtrack CD.

The contents of the DVD run as follows:

Mr. Blast features a cocky young man swaggering down the street, randomly terrorizing people and vandalizing everything in his path. Though mildly funny, it’s hard to say what the point might be.

Tretmikaria Trilobite, which is part-animated and part-live action, offers a cryptic glimpse of a freaked-out vision: It seems to be about a virtual-reality experiment going terribly awry. The idea isn’t developed well enough, but even with its obviously low budget, it demonstrates an eye for striking visuals.

The Shitter is an outrageously vulgar piece of nonsense about a maniac who’s spreading piles of shit all over the city. Eventually, an angry mob tracks him down. Featuring dialogue like “I don’t give a damn about shit!” this falls somewhere below Troma on the bad-taste scale, but heaven help me I actually laughed at some of it.

Daubit Crigh is, for my money, the best of the lot. It deals with a conversation in a café between a diner and a mysterious emissary from the (fictional) country Daubit Crigh. To reveal more would spoil things for you. This has noticeably better production values than the other films, and at barely four minutes it’s a model of economy. A very good short.

Vexed is an incomprehensible short-short featuring a woman tied to a chair, a lot of yelling and screaming, and a lengthy strobe-effect conclusion a la Irreversible. I have no idea what to make of it.

The Gamut of Now Destroy (you have to love these titles) is an visually daring movie that looks like your computer monitor after you’ve turned the color dials the wrong way. I’m not sure how this was achieved, but it’s an interesting experiment. The murky scenario deals with a strange man who wanders about town having sex with various women—but it’s capped by a nifty surprise ending that explains everything. Gamut probably should have been shorter, though; a lot of people will tune out before the big twist.

The disc also includes two cheaply produced music videos featuring bands I’ve never heard of. I didn’t care for these.

In conclusion, it’s a mixed bag. There’s some good stuff here, along with some half-assed ideas that needed to be thought out better. At his best, though—as in Daubit Crigh—Matian demonstrates real ability.

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