dir. Ruggero Deodato
Plays Sat April 12
Cannibal Holocaust is exactly as tasteful as its title implies. The organizers of the Grindhouse Film Festival, who're sponsoring this screening, promise, "This film is absolutely guaranteed to shock, offend, and disgust." Yeah, that's pretty much right. Granted, this is a rare chance to catch this oft-banned 1980 exploitation film, but you're going to want to know what's in store for you ahead of time: a lot of raping, killing, cannibalism, and a whole slew of on-screen animal cruelty. Sound good? Then get on down to the Hollywood!
In the spirit of the mondo films of the '60s and '70s, the Italian-made Cannibal Holocaust "documents" a crew of four filmmakers who travel deep into the "Green Inferno" of the Amazon to film two indigenous tribes. The filmmakers never return, and two months later, a famed anthropologist goes in search of the crew—only to discover their horrifying footage. Back in New York, the anthropologist and a team of TV folk view the gory reels and learn what happened to the crew.
Cannibal Holocaust is a sadistic romp, overflowing with ugly commentaries about the savagery of the human soul. It's definitely worth checking out, if only for the fact that it gets away with murder. (Literally, with a whole ark-load of animals. R.I.P., giant majestic turtle.) To borrow a line from the film, "It'll rape your senses!" Poor violated senses. COURTNEY FURGESON
Filmed by Bike
Fri April 11-Sun April 13
Clinton St. Theater
Kicking around since '03, Filmed by Bike is an annual Portland film festival to which amateur filmmakers and bike enthusiasts submit films, mostly of eight minutes or less. Guidelines are otherwise loose, producing a wide range of topics and styles, with bicycles being the only connective thread. It's a weekend-long event, featuring beer and other fanfare, but the film screenings are by far the main event. Picking up speed each year, 2008's Filmed by Bike received over 100 entries, which were juried down to a selection of about 40, split into two programs.
A selection of what you'll find: Bicycle Jerry, a puppet-acted film about a mildly retarded boy that actually turns out to be surprisingly gory, sad, and disturbing; The Pull, a talky love story about a relationship in which two gay men pre-arrange an expiration date on their partnership and how that affects the way they view and treat each other and their interactions (bikes are in the periphery, appearing when they go on bike dates, etc.); and My Girl, another love story about a cyclist dude trying to woo a rollerblading chick. Like all such endeavors, it's a mixed bag of impressive craft, impressive dorkiness, and the occasional moment of poignancy—all of which goes better with beer. MARJORIE SKINNER
dir. Matthew Saville
Opens Fri April 11
Based on the opening scene, it's easy to imagine the Australian Noise is a simple horror film: An attractive female walks onto a subway car, only to find everybody on the train is dead. She panics, we fade to black, and the rest of the film is spent piecing together what happened.
But excepting those first few minutes, this isn't a horror flick—it's a crime thriller that, ironically, doesn't focus on the crime. Instead, Noise is played out in the world of low-level policeman Graham McGahan (Brendan Cowell), a guy who doesn't even investigate the crime—he's just the policeman whose tedious job it is to wait for evidence to become available. McGahan's passive role is one that could've been boring, but it benefits enormously from a powerful performance by Cowell.
In fact, the whole story is well acted, and the intense film is enhanced further by expert sound editing: McGahan suffers from tinnitus, a ringing in the ears that serves as both an indicator of his declining mental health and a device to make every scene that much more stressful. (It is called Noise, after all.) While a few red herrings and random characters occasionally throw the film off track, writer/director Matthew Saville ensures that the focus remains on Noise's stressful, engrossing story. DREW GEMMER