BEYOND MADNESS (2016) BY LUIGI ZANUSO

Reviews

Alternative Titles: Oltre la follia
Director: Luigi Zanuso aka Dario Lussuria aka Luigi Atomico
Writers: Lucio Massa, Luigi Zanuso
Year: 2016
Starring: Michelle; Rosario Gallardo; Julian D’Annunzio; Simon Hunter; Mark Rock; Giselle Class; Rick McRoy; Venus T.Gender

Synopsis:
A film director dreams his deepest nightmares…and real life is not always worse than the imagination. Beyond Madness is a pornographic film, so raw and direct that it contrasts the costumes and the decadence of contemporary society.

Review:
BEYOND MADNESS is a pornographic and surreal visual representation of madness from the mind of prolific director Luigi Zanuso and if anyone comes into this expecting something easily digestible, then like the raw meat that is utilised in several scenes here, this film is not for you.

Split into eight episodes, each separated by brief philosophical musings which are seemingly an attempt to interject some conceptual and dare I say intellectual substance to the acts of gratification that we witness. Unfortunately for me however this came across as more of a practical decision than for any true philisophical purpose as they added little value to the movie but merely allowed an easy cut from one episode to the next.

Talking of the film from the opening segment you know that this is not a simplistic, definable or even conventional film but rather a surreal orgy of passion, liberation and perversion. Opening with the director taking the role of Diogenes, yes that cynic philosopher, Zanuso wastes no time in getting down to something that is part THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMAN, part porn and fully bizarre as bodily fluids are shared and we essentially are introduced to our cast for the evenings entertainment.

Moving onto the second part entitled ‘Arrogant man’s folly’, what is meant conceptually as a criticism of modern arrogance is not something that I took away or fully understood. Rather I understood it more as about greed and the mindless, indiscriminate devouring of resources but in reality or at least visually it was a mature blonde devouring offal and raw meat before blow jobs are liberally dispensed which is in turn followed by the blonde wearing a scarf made of offal and raw meat being used as sex toys, perhaps indicating the meat market and the raw base action of human fornication when we strip it back down to the fundamental act.

The film then introduces more of a (psychologically) horror centred theme…as well as semen while the appearance of mannequins adds a strange angle to the proceedings and indeed perception of them. As we run through the episodes the levels of meat and blood rise, the volume a woman gushes is increased, an actress wearing a pair of animal eyes drinks semen soup and the sexual activity works up into a frenzy. By the final sequence I have no doubt that one of the actresses, a mature blonde, is off her head and has truly gone insane as she primes a man with one end of a double ended dildo before urinating into his face. If this wasn’t enough she then enters him with a bottle following that up with some impressive fisting and some sexual activity with a decapitated pigs head that would make even David Cameron blush.

It is abundantly clear that the director does what he wants with no regard for convention or conformity and as such has produced something that is all but indefinable. Is it art? Is it porn? Is it trash? In truth it is a surreal beast incorporating all of this.

Of course BEYOND MADNESS has it’s issues, from the lack of continuity in cuts and the overuse of repetition this most certainly isn’t for everyone, one could even go as far as to say it is the very definition of esoteric but it has something. Even if that something is simply watching a woman ejaculate (courtesy of the slightly scary yet still sexy Rosario Gallardo) into a mannequins head. This is one of those rare films where no other title could do justice to the scenes that the viewer witnesses.

Extremely decadent, conceptually dubious and at some points disgusting these sexual tableaux’s succeed in their mission and leave an indelible mark on the viewer. Whether this is good or bad only you can decide but I assure you that you will be stained. And what of poor Diogenes, what would he say of all this? For a man who believed that you can even derive pleasure from despiising pleasure once you become used to it, I think Zanuso’s discarding of convention would have pleased the man.

Version Reviewed:
We reviewed a screener copy of the film supplied by Aborsky Productions, incidentally it will be Zanuso’s first film in HD, as well as a 20 minute interview with the director.

The interview segment titled Beyond Madness shows Luigi Zanuso to be surprisingly charming as he effortlessly manages to hold your attention and dare I even say captivate you with his thoughts from subjects such as the death of pornography because ‘it lacks fantasy and reality’, his career and how he accepts that not everyone will appreciate his decisions and creativity all the way to his thoughts on life in general. It is a surprisingly honest and refreshing talk which endears the director all the more to the viewer as he lays out for the foundation for this, this porn film about madness. Meanwhile on the commercial release I am lead to believe there will also be some interviews with the actors and a trailer.

Find out more on the official Facebook page here.

FEMALE TOUCH (2018) BY MORGANA MAYER

Reviews

Director: Morgana Mayer
Writers: Eleonora D’Arco, Diane De la Barthe, Lucio Massa, Gughy Rossi
Year: 2018
Starring: Morena Capoccia, Giada Davinci, Ishara Gabri, Rebecca Gems

Review:
From Aborsky Produktions, the company behind the post-porn surrealism of Luigi Zanuso/Luigi Atomico’s BEYOND MADNESS and the directorial debut of Morgana Mayer, SEXUAL LABYRINTH comes FEMALE TOUCH, a film which continues the appeal towards a specific counter-culture of free thinkers.

The film is dedicated to the Italian film maker Alberto Cavallone, a man who himself flirted with surrealist eroticism in his work, and is clearly influenced by the works of Luigi Atomico and Joe D’Amato, so if those names appeal to you then this is certainly one for you but if you are still unsure read on with an open mind.

Opening with what would undoubtedly be an uncomfortable scene for almost every male, the visual representation employed here immediately overpowered the underlying message and while this attempted philosophy hinted at something deeper, something profound, for me it ultimately failed to connect. 

With this opening performance piece over and the introductory credits finished, the sexual tapestry that helps to comprise this film continues although rather surprisingly in a manner more restrained (quite literally) than perhaps one relatively new to this sub-genre would expect. The result being something strangely compelling, whether you want it to be or not.

With movies (or should that be performance pieces) like FEMALE TOUCH it is hard to describe the witnessed narrative in a literal way without losing the meaning behind it while a synopsis is clearly open to interpretation from the non-existent to the pretentious, but this way of looking at a movie is not what FEMALE TOUCH is set up to allow. It proves unconventional from whichever way you approach or classify it. An example being the glimpses of putrid and slimy flesh or organs which are interspersed seemingly at random between sexualised segments while no assistance is provided to explain or help guide you through this series of images that become more bizarre as time progresses – at least until the final two segments in which the message behind them becomes a little more overt.

FEMALE TOUCH is certainly too graphic to be an arthouse film, the scenes of female ejaculation and bondage see to that, and too artistic to be pornography (although I am not overly familiar with  the Post porn movement of which Anne Sprinkles book helped influence Morgana Mayer’s previous film SEXUAL LABYRINTH) but is something altogether different, something esoteric that exists within and for a specific underground movement. 

My interpretation is that FEMALE TOUCH is about embracing our differences and desires, about seeking individual liberation from the restrictions and containment as put into place by the status quo, the white heterosexual males, that run Western society…or something like that. 

Challenging, subversive and (potentially) with a message, FEMALE TOUCH is a great example of the question, what is art? What can be called art? And who decides?

For this viewer I found any message to be overshadowed by the methods employed, its subtext difficult to decipher, if there is indeed anything really there although much of this could have been condensed making much of the 78-minute run time more superfluous.