Ahhh, the underground art film short. Its not a genre I have the highest exposure to, except the usual stuff like the feature Begotten, and classics like Bunuel's Un Chien Andolou, Simon of the Desert, and Welles Hearts of Age. Anyway, this is the real underground, the kind of short saved for backalley S&M Goth Clubs or your occasional German shock film festival. Not for the average film fan, featuring some scarification and genital piercing that is not faked.
Basically the 22 minute relatively silent, dialogue free avant garde short follows a faceless (except for glimpses of a pig mask) killer who picks up a drifter whose head is covered in gauze bandages. He then takes the victim to an abandoned house, opens up a briefcase full of tools and a book called "Why God Permits Evil", and proceeds to torture the victim, some surreal junk (killer and victim with wrapped bandages connecting their heads), and then its all over.
Pig was the brainchild of Rozz Williams, who plays the killer in the short and was the late frontman for a goth rock outfit called Christian Death. Co-directed by Nico B, a Dutch born filmmaker, it is your basic underground film, some sick, semi-deranged fantasy combined with some symbolic imagery.
Its kind of hard to critique such cinema. It is what it is. And, it has an audience out there. I didnt exactly get the feeling I was watching the next Alejandro Jodorowsky.. I guess what I really thought about while watching it is the odd parallels Rozz Williams and crew have to myself. I figure they, just like me, spent their early adolescence listening to Bauhaus, Swans, Ministry, and Sisters of Mercy (but I gues I wasnt a real goth since I liked Sonic Youth, The Pixies, and Dinosaur Jr more), developed an interest in serial killers, surrealism, morbid photography, and such. Yet, at some point Williams and the makers of Pig took a turn in their life that lead them down a different path than me. Maybe they didn't get enough attention and affection from their parents?- I don't know. I mean, I'm interested in serial killers pathology and crime photography in a criminologist way, as opposed to the what appears to be a sensationalistic way that Williams does. Likewise we probably both consider ourselves fans of Ballard, Dali, Max Ernst, Joel Peter Witkin, and Man Ray, yet Willaims view of surrealism only seems to focus on the shock and offensive nature. Surrealism isn't all making a photocopy of Jesus with a swastika on his forehead and patting yourself on the back for being such a taboo breaker and offending the stuck up conservatives... At some point I ditched Peter Murphy for Tom Waits, and despite still buying crime books books, delving into surreal photography, and having a healthy interest in the darker aspects of life, I didn't turn into one of those guys who opens up a morbid photography book, pops in a Rammstein cd, wears eyeliner, leather pants, and dog collar, and needs a box of tools and a dry ice machine (for atmosphere) when being intimate with a sex partner. Not that that's wrong if its your bag; I'm just saying if that's the case with you, then Pig is right up your alley.
The DVD: Cult Epics Underground Cinema. Well, this upstart company really does justice to such fringe material. This limited edition (1,500) DVD offers a great presentation, and scores of extras. Underground film fans should be very pleased.
Picture- B&W picture varies from Super 8 to mainly 16mm so there are the expected scrathches and grain that one expects. Overall image looks great considering the material and is free of any artifacts, shimmer, or compression problems.
Sound-Dolby Stereo. Very basic and minimalist audio. Beginning basically has wind sounds you could get from a Spooky Noises for Halloween record and then veers into some industrial noise.
Extras- Chapter Selections--- Audio Interview with Rozz Williams (2:56) with pictures--- Commentary with director Nico B--- Montage Photo Gallery (5:34)--- 5 Outtakes with optional commentary by Nico B (2:00)--- Bios of Rozz Williams and Nico B---Super 8 test film footage (2:56) with commentary--- Rozz Williams Memorial Video (6:05)--- Easter Egg (find it yourself) that basically shows footage of Rozz Williams' apartment.--- And the biggest extra a 40 page booklet that reproduces the book "Why God Permits Evil" that is used in the short.
Conclusion: This is one of those instances where I find the work itself to be pretty unimpressive, but if you are a underground fringe cinema (Richard Kern, Guy Maddin, and such), goth, S&M kinda' person, then this DVD is for you. Fine presentation and extras make it a worthwhile purchase.