films are not recommended for pregnant women, lonely people,
happy people, pet lovers, suicidal viewers, or those opposed
to nudity or violence.
The first New York retrospective of ultra provocative films by
Austrian director Ulrich Seidl opens Oct. 17 with "Dog Days
(Hundstage)," which received the Grand Jury Prize at the
2001 Venice Film Festival. (Seidl will participate in a Q&A
following the 6:20 pm screening.) Seidl peppers the brutality
and meanness of his characters in "Dog Days" with lovely
moments - all the more sweet because of his miserly hand in inserting
them in the film.
His utterly disturbing 1995 documentary "Animal Love (Tierische
Liebe)" (above), about painfully lonely humans and their
unusually intense relationships with their pets, will be shown
Oct. 19 at 6:30 pm. If I could attend the Q&A following that
screening, I would ask him where in hell - because they are apparently
still very much in hell - he found these interview subjects?
"Animal Love" is an unrelentingly difficult, slow-paced
film that depicts all animals as being more noble and redeeming
than any human master.
While Seidl’s films are a must-see for the brand-new, distinct
perspective they bring to cinema, they are also sadistic, joyless
- at times deadpan - ruminations on the incorrigible human condition.
They left me desperately craving the guilty pleasure of a happy
Hollywood ending. If this subject matter is the future of cinema,
I’m going on anti-depressants.
"The Next Director: Ulrich Seidl" opens Oct. 17
and runs through Oct. 20 at BAMcinematek (30 Lafayette Ave. at
Ashland Place). Admission is $9, $6 for students and seniors.
For a complete schedule of films, go to www.bam.org or call (718)
- Lisa J. Curtis
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010