LE FORBICI DI MANITÙ
LUTHER BLISSETT - The Original Soundtracks
1. Streptomagma 2:06
2. L'omino con la macchina da presa sull'ombelico (Elegia per Karl Freund) 3:26
3. Danza dei lumpen-neoisti 1:00
RITORNO AL PIANETA DUPLEX
4. Un giorno del tutto uguale a un'altro a Taliskualis 3:44
5. Nascita di Mix-Yez-Pitel-Ick 1:00
6. Ci potrebbe essere un problema (goffi tentativi di sminuire un culto) 2:55
7. Presa di coscienza di Arira, operaia fotocopiatrice di livello B 1:15
8. Esilio nel deserto delle due lune 7:15
9. Tele-evirazione dimostrativa di uno spacciatore di Koons 6:01
10. Tracce infide di bio-defoliante nel cocktail del vernissage 5:30
A RUSSIAN SUPREME
11. Tema di E.K. (giocattoli cubofuturisti) 2:12
12. Cambiare tutto e tutti: quando anche Malevic perse le staffe 4:20
13. Progetto per sedia-bicicletta-vibratore-piano optofonico 2:04
14. Tema di E.K. II (insinua nel bianco il cuneo rosa elettrico) 0:38
15. Due inglesi a Karkhov 2:33
16. Tema di E.K. III (La Belle Dame Sans Mercedes) 1:10
17. Psicomonumento dinamico alla Quarta Internazionale 3:49
18. Tema di E.K. IV (titoli di coda) 2:00
(super8, colour, magnetic sound, lenght 8', 1975)
Short film in stop-motion and mixed animation techniques. A dizzy, bitter and schizoid study on the saturation from contemporary media languages, with violent evacuations and dense agglomerates, in Brakhage style, of single frames stolen from television or taken from situations meticulously reconstructed in the studio. The fast-paced yet precisely built central segment, with plasticine puppets that move in the midst of shadowy and vampiresquely oblique micro-scenographies, in the manner of silent age expressionist cinema, is a vibrating hommage to the trusty cameraman of F.W. Murnau. In the bizarre and puzzling ending, the face of Guy Debord and that of the film-maker are substituted to those of Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald, in the 'détournement' of a ballet scene from a 1932 musical, concluded by the caption "the medium is the mixage".
RETURN TO DUPLEX PLANET
(35mm., B&W, lenght 90'+90', 1988)
A parabole of social sci-fi, somewhere in between Truffault's Fahrenheit 451 and Ed Wood Jr.'s Plan 9 from Outer Space. This only attempt by Blissett at conventional fiction was carried out with a very limited budget, yet filmed in the revolutionary "quadrimensional" technique, invented by the author himself: two projectors show simultaneously, side by side, two almost identical versions of the film that the audience, by suitably diverging their eyes, should blend into a single image, realistically displaced on four different levels of depth (4D). On the very remote planet Duplex, at first sight utterly similar to Earth, everything exists or happens in true double copy: there are two suns that shine, all the births are twins, when you marry you do it twice in two adjoining churches, and so forth. The very concepts of uniqueness and originality are rigorously banned, each idea or action should reproduce or imitate what has already been done before by others. The unexpected appearance of a singular and asymmetrical individual, Mr. Mxyzptlk, produces the right conditions for a popular uprising against the inflexible laws imposed by the despotic Double Directory. The numerous followers of the Uni-Messiah are however soon deceived by a false Mxyzptlk, mass-deported and reprogrammed to follow submissively the dictates of the bi-bureaucracy. Remained alone with his beloved Arira, the rebel hero can only take the flight, living happily ever after adrift on the uninhabited side of Duplex. Blissett himself, in addition to directing the shots and taking care of the lightning, scenographies and rudimentary special effects, stars in the rôle of the two generals Plagius, leading the anti-rebellion troops of the Information Ministry.
(35mm., colour, lenght 39', 1993)
Medium-lenght film inaugurating the recent 'cyberpunk' conversion of the eclectic and restless performer/film-maker. "Sell! Die!" is a snuff docu-drama that shows famous international artists, art dealers and critics (or their clones) tortured in succession with futuristic computerized 'bachelor machines'. As an example, the SLS (Still Life Self-portrait) is an helmet exactly alike those employed in Virtual Reality game-booths, but it is able to immobilize instantly the head of those who wear it and, through a programme of facial injections and electro-hydraulic solicitations, to send to a PC monitor and printer crude but amazing effects of organic morphing, until the death of the subject in the space of a few minutes. While the film proceeds, the (sim)cruelties of the author-protagonist, in action always out of camera, become more and more savage, inspired by the final chapters of De Sade's 120 Days of Sodoma. The work has been conceived as a reaction, twenty years later, to a misadventure occurred to a previous Blissett film, Vendez!, a ferocious attack against the artistical establishment whose only existing print was purloined and in all probability destroyed just a few days before the showing, out of competition, at the Venice Biennale of 1973. According to the film-maker's opinion, the theft had been committed to order of powerful and corrupted art critics, reviled with real names and surnames in the film script.
A RUSSIAN SUPREME
(16mm., B&W and colour, lenght 110', 1969)
Cinematographic diary of the researches carried out by Blissett in Russia in the years '68-'69, on the footsteps of an underestimated artist, Erika Eliotova Karenina (1889-?), the most radical female adherent to the ukraine suprematist group Magazin (together with Popova, Ekster and Udal'cova). Convinced that it was not enough to give to the public the visual sensation of the revolution in progress, but that it was necessary to let the people participate in the first person to the continuous transformations, with her innovatory projects of modular psycho-architecture and psycho-sculpture, that could be freely assembled and disassembled by the spectator/author, Karenina attracted strong enmities and many excommunications. Every lasting evidence of her brilliant multi-functional works, hated by Tatlin and Lissitsky, had been completely wiped out even before the repression and proscription of the russian avant-garde movements, perpetrated in the Thirties by the state apparatus. Some black and white portions of the documentary are filmed in pure constructivist style, or following the model of 'cinema verité' invented by Dziga Vertov. Blissett and his two collaborators, the homonymous Harry Kipper and Harry Kipper, manage to interview some relatives and acquaintances of Erika Karenina, but discover only vague and discordant data regarding the work and possible fate of the artist, who died in utter destitution after having spent her last years drawing her projects with coloured chalks on the walls of Kiev or, according to different sources, ended up married to a sugar-cane tycoon of Cochabamba, in Bolivia.
Concept, executive production and coordination: Piermario Ciani.
Scores written, produced and played by Le Forbici di Manitù (Vittore Baroni, Enrico Marani, Manitù Rossi) at the Occam Razor studio, except (1.) by FdM and Alessandro Canovi, recorded at Erich Zann studio; (8.) by FdM and Massimo Pavarini; (9.) and (10.) by FdM and Massimo Pavarini, pre-mix at Mondino's, final mix at Akademgorod studio, special guest Satana Cianciulli (feedback); (11.) special guests Olga and Anna Tranfaglia (voices and assorted percussions).
Graphic concept and lay-out: Piermario Ciani
Contact FdM: E.O.N., Via C. Battisti 339, 55049 Viareggio, Lu, Italy.
Cover notes: Coleman Healy - NO COPYRIGHT - June 1995.