In a recent edition of BBC2’s Culture Show film critic Mark Kermode interviewed Paul Verhoeven about his new film Black Book. We’ve all heard of Verhoeven – he’s the man who gave us the mindlessly crude Basic Instinct and Showgirls. Well, according to Kermode, usually one of the more reliable and discerning critics, Verhoeven is an ‘auteur’ whose entire oeuvre is concerned with the theme of identity. To prove his point Kermode selected a clip from Total Recall – yes, you are reading correctly – in which Arnold Shwarzenegger is being addressed by his double from a TV screen. The TV double makes some mind-blowing revelation about how he really is his own self talking from the past, which Arnie greets with a resounding ‘No shit!’ We’ll give you a minute to ponder this remarkable insight… Either Kermode is the most brilliantly subversive TV commentator around or this is just another example of what mainstream media does to intelligent critics – turn them into robotic clones who spout out the same toothless, consensual platitudes.
Well, this is exactly the kind of thing you won’t get on the virtual pages of Electric Sheep. Hell no. Every month we’ll be bringing you uncompromising reviews of the best new films and DVDs, reappraisals of obscure past works, interviews with provocative directors as well as incisive essays. So for our very first issue we have reviews of Bamako, a spirited indictment of globalisation from Mali, the outrÃ© French horror film Satan and Los Olvidados, LuÃƒÂs BuÃƒÂ±uel’s ferocious portrayal of Mexico City street kids, showing in a new print at the NFT.
On the DVD front we can’t wait to tell you about Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 – a wild gem from Japan featuring one of the meanest, baddest girls in movie history. There is more unhinged Japanese cinema as we review the stylishly delirious Branded to Kill, whose hero gets off on the smell of boiling rice. Elsewhere we have the compelling revenge drama Red Road while we also take a look back at 13 (Tzameti), a startlingly distinctive debut that did not get the attention it deserved when it came out last year.
Occasionally we will discuss arts or music events that we find particularly exciting. This month we’re proud to present a very special interview with Blixa Bargeld, lead singer of German industrial band EinstÃƒÂ¼rzende Neubauten. In the UK the band is particularly famous for the riot-inducing concert that they played at the ICA in 1984. On February 20th a group of artists led by Jo Mitchell will stage a faithful re-enactment of that concert – read what Bargeld has to say about it here.
All that and every month we’ll also give you the chance to get your cinephile hands on a mystery DVD – all you have to do to win is spin the Film Roulette!.
The Electric Sheep Magazine team