Monday, 16 December 2013

Defensive Pleasures: Class, Carnivalesque and Shameless

The new issue of One Plus One Filmmakers Journal is out today and includes an article by me, download and read the whole issue here!
Here's an introduction to the issue by Bradley Tuck:
"Where volume one focused on Exploitation cinema and the appropriation of its tropes in commercial and art cinema, this volume changes tact, exploring themes of film exhibition and the Carnivalesque.

The first two articles are dedicated to the former theme. In these articles James Riley and Amelia Ishmael explore the exhibition of underground cinema. From the film festival to the ad hoc DIY screening, these articles adventure into the sometimes foreboding landscape of film screenings. The following articles explore the topic of the carnivalesque, both as an expression of working class culture and queer excess. Frances Hatherley open up this theme with an article on the TV show Shameless exploring the demonisation of the working classes in Britain and mode of politicisation and defiance article, we discover in Shameless, not the somber working class of Mike Leigh or Ken Loach, but the trailer trash of John Waters. 
Appropriately, therefore, this articles is swiftly followed by a discussion between James Marcus Tucker and Juliet Jacques on Rosa von Praunheim’s City of Lost Souls; a film that wallows in the carnivalesque decadence of queer life. City of Lost Souls is a film that springs from a tradition of queer cinema with obvious parallels with the works of Paul Morrissey, Jack Smith, George and Mike Kuchar and John Waters. In these films the life of queers and freaks are not sanitised and “politically corrected”, but celebrated in their debased glory. Continuing our homage to this tradition of queer carnivalesque exaltation we pay tribute to two of its extraordinary female stars. Melanie Mullholland and Bradley Tuck interview Mink Stole to discuss her acting, film roles, theatre and music. Melanie Mulholland follows this with a tribute to the recently deceased Susan Tyrrell, star of Forbidden Zone and Cry-Baby, which is accompanied with art work by Jonny Negron. Finally we close this issue with two articles focusing on a film director, who could arguably be seen as the consummation of this tradition, Bruce LaBruce.

Our journey into the depths of trash, exploitation and cult cinema has brought us to a vast cacophony of different films: gore, commercial exploitation homages, the spaghetti western, blaxploitation, portraits of the working classes in British TV shows and queer cinema. What unites these films is not that they are all utter rubbish (some of them are, in fact, great films), but that they challenge our conventions of taste. In light of this, trash cinema is not so much bad low budget movies, but emerges alongside commercial and art cinema, often interplaying and influencing each other. If films like Jaws and Kill Bill are exploitation films gone mainstream, the films of Paul Morressey, Rosa von Praunheim, Ralph Bakshi and Glauber Rocha appropriate trash aesthetics and exploitation tropes for artistic and political commentary. In this respect trash is not so much a genre, but an emphasis; a way of looking at film that persistently calls us to address and reassess the meaning of taste, pleasure, class and culture. Trash is persistently caught between entertainment and experimentation; between reaction and subversion. Trash is a fluid category that calls for persistent critique and dynamic thought. Enjoy!"

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