Tinto Brass, the Italian director known for his warped and sensual take on human nature — culminating most notoriously with his abortive directorial work on Guccione's Caligula — turned 73 in March. To celebrate, Cinefamily presents “The Psychedelic '60s of Tinto Brass,” screening some of his rarer films every Friday at midnight throughout April. In the same vein of Ken Russell or Andy Warhol (or Wes Craven's career, only in reverse), Brass spiked his bizarre visions with more accessible sensibilities of being an “ass man” — and what full-blooded Italian in the '60s was not? — focusing on sexy bits of the body until the meditation became almost surreal in its tactile obsession. As with most Cinefamily fare, these films are exceedingly rare, generally unavailable on DVD and if they do show up on video, they're from a deeply cruddy nth-generation of a bootleg PAL VHS. Brass' 1970 film L'Urlo (screening April 10), loosely based on Allen Ginsberg's “Howl,” involves more women in search of themselves as they break free from the ossified cocoon of the middle class, while Deadly Sweet (1967, screening April 17) stars Ewa Aulin and Jean-Louis Trintignant and comes off initially as just another corpse-packed giallo but becomes something completely other as Brass crams in as much contemporary pop culture as he possibly can: fumetti, swinging London, the art of Crepax and the always-popular theme of the sinful dwarf. Brass' aesthetic comes from a simpler time: one in which everything was thrown against the (stomach) wall and, more often than not, most of it worked — or, at least, stuck like a stabbed record.

Fri., April 10, 2009

LA Weekly