Butt Boy

Butt Boy is what happens if someone takes a Chuck Tingle story and films it like a gritty cop drama. A man with a portal in his ass is abducting kids and sticking them up there. Hot on his trail is a jaded, hard-bitten cop, and they play a game of cat-and-mouse throughout the movie.

Butt Boy has, without a doubt, the stupidest premise for a film of the entire festival, yet it is played entirely straight. All the humour is from how ridiculous that is, rather than any standard jokes in the movie.

Silly and weird.

Saint Maud

A sensational film about religious frenzy. A nurse sets out to save the soul of her dying patient. Jennifer Ehle is wonderful as the patient, and Morfydd Clark is extraordinary as Maud.

Reminiscent of something like The Witch, this focuses on the ecstatics of devotion. A psychological horror with an unreliable narrator, Maud’s perspective on what is happening differs massively from the secular audience. The tension just winds up as that divide gets wider and wider.

Hold your breath.

If you like this

The Mortuary Collection

The Mortuary Collection is a horror anthology, with 4 short stories told by the undertaker to a prospective new recruit. Clanchy Brown plays a Tall Man-type character, a looming Lurch with a gorgeously ominous voice.

Side bar: How old is Clancy Brown now? Coz I would still ride him til my fanny got scorch marks.

Each of the short stories vary in tone and tightness. Some are concise and punchy. Some are longer and wind up more tension or humour. The last one is the best.

Thoroughly enjoyable.

The Garden Left Behind

Ok, so this is another movie about trans women that obviously has good intentions. All trans characters are played by trans actors. It shows trans activism and resistance to trans oppression.

That being said, this is another film that shows being trans as the single defining problem of the main character. Tina is a Latina trans woman who doesn’t have legal status in the US. She has a shitty boyfriend and is constantly struggling to make money. Yet the film acts like she has a single issue life. Much like the movie Girl, even other aspects of her life boil down to this one thing which is seen as a giant problem.

Now obviously it’s right and proper to highlight the struggles of being trans, but not to the point where a single characteristic of a person is portrayed as all-defining, and as a negative burden upon them.

It’s very after school special, and much of the writing and acting is cringey. Like all movies that portray being trans as a ‘problem play’, this ends with the expected outburst of violence.

I’m glad to see trans actresses portraying trans stories, but this film just felt like it spoke to a cis audience the whole time. It was a plea to a cis audience for tolerance and therefore was kinda defined by the cis gaze. Mm.

Machine

It’s not often you see a documentary about emergent technology and come away feeling comforted.

One of my old uni lecturers said, “I’m not really worried about AI. Because all a computer can do is add 2 numbers, subtract 2 numbers, multiply and divide 2 numbers, and decide which one is larger or smaller.” That proves decidedly prescient given the subjects covered in Machine.

Machine is a sort of setting to rights by robotisicist and AI specialists on the capacity and limitations of AI. The good news about AI is, a lot of it’s shite, so we’re not all gonna be replaced by androids just yet. The bad news is our problem isn’t AI, it’s capitalism, the state, patriarchy and racism. So yeah, there’s that.

The kind of point of Machine is to say that the future of AI is not a technological problem, it’s a philosophical problem. And the problem with us getting good or bad results from AI, is down to the fact that we don’t really understand ourselves or know what we want. In fact, at basics, the trouble with replicating human thought, is we don’t really understand how humans think. It’s Dostoyevsky’s problem with creating a sane society for an insane species flung into a technological future.

In short, people say what they want, then don’t want it. Best example is the driverless car trolley problem. People say that a driverless car should swerve to avoid injuring a group of pedestrians, even at the sacrafice of the safety of the driver. When asked if they would drive such a car, they’re like, “Fuck no!” How can a technology be developed to serve such a contradictory customer base?

An interesting conversation starter. Give it a watch if it pops up on Netflix, which I suspect it will.

Song Without A Name

Song Without A Name is based on real events where poor Native Amerindian women had their newborn children illegally adopted without their knowledge or consent. Even when the struggle to bring those to justice is finally over, the attitude prevails that these kids are probably better off with the rich whites that have adopted them overseas than with their poor indigenous mothers, so no real effort is put into reuniting them.

For the main character, this just destroys her and her husband. Unable to provide or protect his family, he falls into despair and is led astray by a bad lot. She is left in this permanent state of unresolved mourning.

A sorrowful tale.