Monday, September 14, 2009

Embodiment of Evil (2008)

José Mojica Marins might an old fart, not the best actor and a highly controversial character in Brazils movie history - but he's also a pure genius and offers something that seems to be totally honest, which I think is pretty unique in the world. Marins is the real deal, someone who just dosen't give a fuck about what people think. At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul and This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse is two of the best movies from the sixties and still gives me goosebumps. Now he's back with Embodiment of Evil, and he hasn't grown more conservative, only the opposite. 

The film starts with a surreal and powerful visual moving painting (I can't explain it some other way) and Marins holding a speach over it. Cut to a group of serious men wandering through a rundown mental hospital, to Coffin Joe's cell... where we only see his long nails playing in the small opening. There's nothing they can do. He has to be relased, he's officially cured from his hallucinations and needs to go out in life again... 

Outside he's hooking up with his old friend Bruno, a weird hunchback who have prepared everything. Coffin Joe now has a couple of followers who are willing to die for him in the hunt for the perfect woman to give him his even more perfect son. But nothing everything is like it was outside. Military dictatorship is eating up the country, children are sleeping on the streets and the christianity and other superstitions are controlling the society... for a moment Joe feels scared, worried, but then he realises that he must fulfill his destiny... and sets out on gory trippy hunt for the woman of his dreams!

Fuck Wow Yeah. This is one impressive movie. Marins is a fat, hairy dude nowdays, 73 years old and still getting it one with really young and beautiful women. He also overacts. But ya know, it dosen't matter. He did that in the old movies to, but this time it's the grand finale and he sure still have that weird charisma! Visually it's a the tour de Force of his career. The budget is bigger, and it's much more violent and cynical than his earlier works, but it still very old-school. The cape and hat is there, the grand speaches, the goth-style that he more or less invented. The dialogue is a bit uneven, but it all comes with the surreal feeling. I'm not kidding you that there's scenes in this movie that actually touches you, it feels like Marins have a goal, a message. I'm not always sure what that message is, but it's there.

The really cool thing is who he connects this new movie with the first two movies. We see flashbacks to the old scenes, integrated with the plot of Coffin Joe today. Victims, lovers and friends of the past are visiting in hellish black and white nightmares - actors painted so they look black and white for example, which works fantastic! The effects are most of the time excellent, with some very graphic gore (cannibalism, penis-eating, skinning and a lot more), but it's al so surreal and fits so good in the movie. Did I mention the graphic nudity to? There's a lot of it! The hell-scene is one of the highlights by the way, and it oozes of Jodorowsky and Arrabal. 

This is radical film-making at it's best. Not for everyone, but everyone should see it.


Phantom of Pulp said...

Great review.

I love Marins -- especially the MIDNIGHT and NIGHT films.

I'm embarrassed to say I haven't picked this one up yet.

That's going to change.

Ninja Dixon said...


You have to see it, I doubt you will regret it!