Thursday, July 26, 2012
Parasite: a foul message from Mac Ahlberg!
Parasite, a message from the films cinematographer Mac Ahlberg: DJÄVLA ARSLE. Ahlberg, a competent Swedish director of sex movies and a very talented cinematographer. I have no idea how he ended up in Hollywood, but remember that the sex movies he directed (and shot) was big hits internationally also: Bel Ami, Justine and Juliette, Flossie, Around the world with Fanny Hill etc. Good stuff to, even I find them entertaining - but maybe most, to have stunning visuals. In 1979 he shot Nocturna: Draculas Daughter for producer Irwin Yablans and directed the terrible, extremely boring mafia movie Hoodlums - and from that moment he was stuck in the US and had a long and interesting (but far from perfect) career in b-movies with the occasional blockbuster in-between.
In 1982 he shot Parasite for Embassy Pictures and Charles Band and there he left is most Swedish mark ever, this graffiti. Cazzata is Italian, and means "bullshit" or something similar, but DJÄVLA (or DJÄVLAR, but there's a cross over the R, changing the grammar of the message) ARSLE means: Fucking Asshole. Or Damn Asshole, if you want to be less vulgar. I've always found it to be the highlight of this weak creature feature, even if it has nice slow-mo and one fun scene when the parasite crawls out from someones face.
I've always wondered why he (who else could it have been?) choose those words. Maybe it was just for fun, just a silly curse word for me to discuss on my blog eons after the movie was made. Or is it a message to the Swedish film community that treated him like shit? Like they've done even most talented Swedish filmmakers who never wanted to be a new Bergman, but just themselves instead. Maybe some fancy critics would say that it's a lot nicer to work in Sweden with art movies instead of monster movies for Charles Band, but they just lack the worldview that a film critic should have. Freedom isn't just about making fine dramas for the fine audience, it's also to entertain and shock the masses.
I think Mac Ahlberg succeeded in leaving Sweden behind him, even if the movies not always had stellar quality, his workmanship always kept high technical quality.