Eastbound and proud – East End Film Festival Cult round up.

In addition to our own little contribution to The East End Film Festival’s Cine-East fringe, the EEFF has gone and programmed a slew of other interesting genre films including the must see TETSUO Double Bill. 
Without doubt, London’s cinematic landscape is becoming more and more exciting, relevant and challenging with every day that passes. Get on board, go outside the confines of whatever you think film is, and support those that work to bring you cinemagic. 

EEFF 2012 is delighted to present restorations of Shin’ya Tsuakamoto’s twisted cyberpunk classics
Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II:Body Hammer, as well his latest film: the stunning, disturbing
Kotoko. The work of a singular filmmaker often compared to David Cronenberg, not to be missed on
the big screen.


TETSUO: IRON MAN (Shin’ya Tsukamoto, 1989, London Premiere)
A strange man known only as the ‘metal fetishist’ is hit and seemingly killed by a Japanese ‘salaryman’, who then begins to be slowly overtaken by a strange disease that transforms his body into scrap metal, a process guided by his own rage and frustration. Shin’ya Tsuakamoto’s cyberpunk classic is presented here in a brand new restoration.
Screening from 6pm, Saturday 4th July, Hackney Picturehouse.
Details Here

TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER (Shin’ya Tsukamoto, 1992, London Premiere)
Tsukamoto’s sequel to Tetsuo sees his Iron Man transforming into a cyberkinetic gun after a gang of vicious skinheads kidnap his son. Eventually captured himself, they begin experimenting on him only to speed up the mutative process. As powerful, twisted and singular as the first instalment, ‘Tetsuo: The Body Hammer’ is again introduced in a brand new restoration, with Tsukamoto in attendance, in an unmissable double bill.
Screening from 6pm, Saturday 4th July, Hackney Picturehouse.
Details Here

KOTOKO (Shin’ya Tsukamoto, 2011, London Premiere)
A single mother, played by Japanese singer Cocco, suffers from double vision that speaks of wider instability, and as she slowly loses grip on reality, struggles to protect both her child and herself. Or perhaps they really are out to get her. Legendary provocateur Shin’ya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo: The Iron Man, see page 20) returns to his best with another tale of dizzying psychological descent.
Screening 8.30pm, Sunday 5th July, Rich Mix.
Details Here

THE LEGEND OF KASPAR HAUSER(Davide Manuli, 2012, UK Premiere)
Kaspar Hauser is reimagined as an androgynous woman washing up on a Mediterranean island,
kicking off a war between the Sheriff and the Pusher, both played by Vincent Gallo. Davide Manuli’s
barmy Techno Western is a tale of faith, suspicion and flying saucers set to the thudding beats of
techno behemoth Vitalic; the sort of astonishing experience modern cinema rarely manages anymore.
Screening 9pm, Friday 6th July, Hackney Picturehouse. 
Details Here

CARRE BLANC (Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, 2011, UK Premiere)
Jean-Baptiste Leonetti’s debut is a gravely stylish vision of a dystopian future France; a society
run by a mysterious caste system that turns those who fail in an arbitrary, Kafkaesque “game” into
hamburgers. Phillipe, a man on his way up, is ultimately forced to choose between his meteoric rise
and his marriage in this cult classic in the making.
Screening 11.30pm, Friday 6th July, Rio Cinema. 

Welcome the the EEFF’s very own X-Files – an unsettling selection of 8 shorts about all things supernatural and uncanny. We’ll be opening our secret vault to unleash invisible demons, abductive aliens, cursed children, zombie mums, possessed walls, haunted submarines, Canadian goat people and a lady who swears she sees dead people. Join us – the truth is out there.
Screening 11.30pm, Saturday 7th July, Rio Cinema. 
Details Here

See you folks East. 



Probably the most disappointing film of the festival, this – in my eyes, Cronenberg’s track record is nigh-on flawless, and unlike so many horror directors of his generation time hasn’t dulled his knack for getting under people’s skin, with some his most recent films (Eastern Promises and A History of Violence in particular) being among his best. So my hopes were high for this marriage of a fascinating subject (the birth of psychoanalysis), a great cast (Michael London Film Fasstival and Viggo Mortensen in particular), and one of my favourite directors in A DANGEROUS METHOD.

With such a pedigree behind it, what went wrong? It’s hard to say: A DANGEROUS METHOD is just a tepid, deeply average film, with one, egregiously terrible aspect that drags into down into the just plain bad category.

In the early part of the 20th century Carl Jung (Fassbender) tries out Sigmund Freud’s (Viggo Mortensen) controversial new treatment of psychoanalysis on the disturbed young woman Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), admitted after demonstrating compulsive behavior and undergoing violent fits. The treatment proves successful, and Sabina embarks on a career as a psychoanalyst herself. However, she and Jung have embarked on a tumultuous affair, one facilitated by the arrival and persuasive powers of committed polygamist Otto Gross (Vincent Cassell) – this affair leads to a number tensions and recriminations between Jung and Freud, by now both his friend and intellectual rival.

A DANGEROUS METHOD was adapted from a stage play, and it really shows. It’s an extremely talky screenplay – understandably, given the film’s protagonists – but the conversations are surprisingly lifeless and dull – there are also a number jarring shifts between time periods that would work a lot better on stage than on screen. We seem to always jump forward in time by several years every time the story begins to get interesting.

Cronenberg doesn’t utilize the camera to show us anything that we would have been prevented from seeing on stage – for example, the frequent dream sequences that are described – and the material isn’t strong enough to support the film up by itself. It’s bizarre that a director responsible for some of the most memorable cinematic images in history could make such a visually unadventurous film.

The script is also heavy with dramatic irony and references that require a decent rounding in the early history of psychoanalysis to make much sense – on the other hand, the film isn’t enlightening or incisive enough to say anything new to someone already familiar with the basic concepts, which makes you wonder exactly who this film is aimed at.

Fassbender, Cassell, and Mortensen all put in decent performances, and when they’re onscreen the film putters along reasonably enough, and if it was just scenes with them the film would be passable if rarely rising above the level of a good TV movie.

I should probably preface this by saying that I am by no means a Keira Knightley hater – there’s plenty of stuff I’ve really liked her in, like ATONEMENT and NEVER LET ME GO – but her performance in A DANGEROUS METHOD is historically bad. She’s not the only one to blame – clearly Cronenberg told her to ‘go for it’ – but it’s one of the most nails-on-chalkboard irritating things I’ve seen in a cinema for a long time. Her portrayal of madness hinges on a non-stop barrage of flailing limbs, guttural noises, a stammer more over-the-top than Michael Palin in A FISH CALLED WANDA, and relentless gurning, wrapped around a ludicrous Borat-by-way-of-Robbie Coltrane in Goldeneye accent. It’s less a convincing portrayal of madness than it is a cartoonish imitation of someone found wandering around Glastonbury at 6AM on a Sunday morning. It’s not a screen performance – it’s a theatre one. Everything should have been dialled down by about thirty notches, and ultimately Cronenberg has to take as much responsibity for this as Knightley. It’s nothing personal against her, and I’m positive the next film I see her in she’ll be great, but fuck me if she isn’t unwatchable for large swathes of this.

It’s a shame A DANGEROUS METHOD turned out the way it did, because there is little in the film to ultimately recommend it. One day a great film will be made about this subject – but this sadly isn’t it.