Bog of Beasts is a disturbing tale of poverty, rape, prostitution and incest in a tiny coastal town near Recife in Brazil.
Director Claudio Assis begins by drawing the viewer in with sympathy for young Auxiliadora, who essentially lives as a servant to her twisted grandfather Heitor.
While being forced to expose herself to the perverted ‘beasts’ for money at a local cinema, Auxiliadora is brought into a world in which poverty has driven women to accept immorality and servitude as a way of life.
Uncontrolled machismo is allowed to run rampant in this town where women have been reduced to little more than objects on display waiting to be violated.
The impoverished group of prostitutes working at the cinema have been socialized into seeing sex as their only route to freedom. This sentiment is quickly born in Auxiliadora as she tries to seduce Maninho, a hardworking poor man digging a cesspool behind her house, because she sees him as her only way to escape her grandfather.
The movie is set in a time when the townspeople’s main source of income, the sugar mills, have disappeared. The town has been abandoned, which has led to its descent into immorality. At one point Heitor’s friend turns to him and says, “The mill people are like that, when they have to pay they close down. When things are right, they make money, they open.”
This movie comes of as a statement on the power of corruption money holds on society.
Men of money are willing to spend 500 Reals for the privilege of masturbating to the image of young Auxiliadora’s naked body, while those who do not have money resort to selling their bodies.
The only person in the movie represented as moral is the impoverished worker, Maninho, as he is the only one asking questions about Heitor’s bizarre relationship with his granddaughter.
At the heart of this movie are two very strong statements, one about the machismo of Brazilian society and another about the harms globalization has caused in the country. The combination of these two factors has descended the tiny town near Recife into a Bog of Beasts.
Friday, Oct. 19
Sunday, Oct. 21
@ Ex-centris, 3635 St-laurent, corner Prince Arthur
Length: 80 min.
While the movie Sperm may have one of the most bizarre and convoluted plot lines ever created, there is surprisingly an important message behind this Thai film.
The movie follows Suthin, a teenager living in Bangkok who has an unhealthy obsession with Lammy, a local celebrity. Suthin constantly dreams this superstar is seducing him only to wake up right before he seals the deal.
Because of this frustration Suthin’s friends decide to ‘help’ him out by secretly giving him a heavy dose of super-viagra. Not knowing why he has this uncontrollable urge, Suthin begins to masturbate in the middle of the city streets.
To his and everyone else’s surprise the sperm somehow travels into the bellies of hundreds of Bangkok women, causing a pandemic of rapid-fire pregnancies throughout the city. What is most bizarre is that all the babies come out looking exactly like Suthin and that the one thing they hold in common with him besides their giant heads is an unhealthy obsession with Lammy.
This movie is interesting enough just for the comic effect of magically flying super-potent sperms. The message the director is trying to convey is the ridiculousness of advertisers continually using sexual images and the ‘perfection’ of celebrities to sell their products.
For example, when Suthin goes to buy Addict body-spray (which is all too similar to Axe body-spray) it is because of its slogan “girls can’t resist the power of Addict.” The store clerk tells Suthin that if he wears this he just might be able to sleep with Lammy some day.
When talking about the mini-Suthins, the scientist trying to solve the problem of the impregnated women says, “Take a good look at today’s society. Even when full grown they are still sperms, their main objective is copulation. Wherever you look temptations abound that drive these kids wild and arouse their desires.”
While I have to admit I was pretty skeptical before watching this movie, it is pretty interesting on two levels. First off, it is one of those movies that is just so ridiculous and unbelievable that it is funny. But on another level this movie critiques the irrational importance of celebrity present in many societies as well as the fact that advertisers constantly bombard today’s youth with sexual images in an attempt to get them to open their pocket-books.
Wednesday, Oct. 17
9:30 p.m. @ Imperial, 1430 rue Bleury
Sunday, Oct. 21
5:15 p.m. @ Ex-centris,
3536 St-laurent, corner Prince Arthur
Length: 83 min.