News from the Locarno Festival

Psychedelic Science-Fiction for an Inventive Head-Trip

Psychedelic Science-Fiction for an Inventive Head-Trip



Diversely prolific American experimental filmmaker James Fotopoulos brings Locarno a genuine sign of life with the supremely odd Dignity, a strange, challenging and highly inventive low-budget head-trip, shot entirely on studio, and employing early digital techniques, plus old-school maquillage. Scored by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Nate Archer, Dignity combines psychedelia and science-fiction into one terrific whatzit.

American cult independent filmmakers the Zellner brothers star in the featured roles of two secret agents, Mr. Rainbow (Nathan) and Mr. Lamb (David), who have been captured by aliens en route to their task of acquiring a perpetual-motion machine from a faraway planet. Interspersed with their off-screen interrogations and severe jailtime traumas (which, to avoid a total spoiler, involves eating a strange part of a primate), Fotopoulos inserts the Romantic and Surrealist prison etchings of Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, a repetitive gesture that accumulates into the sensation of panicked delirium and insurmountable enclosure. And then, again avoiding spoilers, all hell breaks loose.

Mark Peranson

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