A UFO called The Wild Boys made my top-ten list of 2018, so I tracked down some shorts by the same director to see what he’s on about.
Any Virgin Left Alive (2015)
A rude reimagining of the death of Joan of Arc (Elina Löwensohn). Only her eyes are burned, and she roams the battlefields in a metal mask, capturing and tormenting a young woman.
Our Lady of Hormones (2014)
Two women come across a hairy, fleshy creature with a penile protuberance, squabble over its ownership and care. Löwensohn is eventually murdered with a sickle by Nathalie Richard (the great dancer from Up, Down, Fragile). These shorts have the Argento-Maddin coloring of The Wild Boys, and are similarly perverse fun. Narration by Michel Piccoli (currently his most recent credit), making this the Mandico film with the highest percentage of Rivette actors.
Living Still Life (2012)
A woman finds dead animals and poses them obsessively in stop-motion scenarios, stalked by a grieving man. Great sound and music and color, a perfect short, docked a couple points since I’ve recently seen A Zed and Two Noughts.
Ultra Pulpe (2018)
“I am the most hated filmmaker of my generation, the tribal pornographer, the scavenger of the genre. Who will remember me?” Absolute madness involving women and other creatures on a film set. Pascale Granel shot everything else I’ve seen by Mandico, now Sylvain Verdet takes over… I don’t know either of them from anything else, just trying to keep up. Löwensohn and Richard are joined by Lola Créton (Bastards), two of the Wild Boys, and (as actors) the costume designer of Knife+Heart and Michael Haneke’s casting director.
Switches between sharp black and white, and hazy 16mm color – stylishly artificial looking, almost Maddinesque. Five bad kids try to impress their lit teacher, finally sexually assult and murder her, blaming it on the icon of their evil selves, TREVOR.
A sea captain claims he can make the boys obedient, takes them on his ship to a pleasure island with living plants, where they eat hairy fruit that turns them into girls.
The captain (Sam Louwyck of Ex Drummer) reconnects with his associate Dr. Séverine (Elina Löwensohn, who I watched yesterday in Let The Corpses Tan), is then murdered by the kids when he tries to remove them from the island.
Mandico is obviously a talent, and has a bunch of shorts I should dig up.
Nick Pinkerton in Reverse Shot:
The Wild Boys0 is a supremely assured piece of craftsmanship, evincing an active creative engagement and ample imagination in every minute of its nearly two-hour runtime … A maximalist to the core, Mandico has a natural enmity towards both an inactive camera and empty screen space, and when he isn’t stuffing the frame to bursting with whorls of fog, fleecy feathers, thickets of exotic foliage, bits of rigging, and the glisten of paillettes, seawater spray, or paralyzing sap, he takes pleasure in setting images within images: a fist glittering with jewelry clenching a revolver, for example, framed by the outline of the mountainous Île des Robes.