Directed & Written by Karim Hussain
Produced by Mitch Davis
Music by Teruhiko Suzuki
Cast: Brea Asher, Ivaylo Founev, Eric Pettigrew & Christopher Piggins
1999/80 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digital
1.33:1/English/Canada/PAL Region 2
Review from Sazuma DVD
"Destroy the left side of the brain... And drown ourselves with dreams"
Exploring birth, family, sex and religion in a vile yet poetic and lush cinematographic experience, SUBCONCIOUS CRUELTY won't leave any viewer indifferent. Love it or hate it, one thing that's for sure is that you will remember this movie for a long time. Through a serie of vignettes we are presented various aspect of life... and death. The first vignette is actually the intro where we are explained the way the human brain functions. The left side handles the creative aspect while the right one is the rational part.
The second one dwelves us into the mind of a man... a man in love with his sister who happens to be pregnant. She is about to give life which is surely the most beautiful thing in the world. In the end, the brother help her give birth but then kill the just born child and hold it over her so that the blood splatters all over. This is a portrayal of madness, incest, infanticide and love gone wrong.
Next is the "people fucking the earth" vignette which take us into a completely different realm of mind. We see naked people making love with the earth in a natural, beautiful, almost dreamy and very primitive way. It is the embrace of the human body, blood and life. This vignette also contains one of the scenes that made me cringe when I first saw it at the world premiere back in 1999, the guy sucking the knife which is between a woman's legs as his mouth pours blood.
The fourth vignette follows a business going through his everyday routine. We find out that when he's alone at night his rage and alienation from the women and humans around him make him go to the extreme. A rather painful extreme as fish hooks are inserted into is penis and a woman's hand strokes his member until he ejaculates blood and then the flesh of his penis is torn off. According to the director, no this is not an anti-masturbation message!
And finaly, in the last vignette we see the Christ getting violated, rip off, sodomized and urinated on as imagery of crimes that religion has caused are projected on a wall. SUBCONCIOUS CRUELTY is a movie that you have to see for yourself to make up your own mind about it. There is no linear narrative, its not going from point A to B, everyone who will experience this celluloid beast will make up his own mind and vision of things.
For director Karim Hussein and producer Mitch Davis, SUBCONCIOUS CRUELTY was a labor of love... and hate. Six and a half years in the making, loosing half of the film's negative to former team members, having the director put in a holding cell while the brainless Canadian boarder's custom agents watched a rough cut of the film and declared it "obscene" and confiscating it, and worst of all... no money to finish the projet when it was meant to be. Yet, this surely helped build a cult status around the movie since anything that is hard to find is always more interesting to hunt for then the latest Hollywood big budget A-list horror flick at your local Blockbuster.
I remember when I got my first taste of SUBCONCIOUS CRUELTY at the Fantasia Film Festival back in 1998. The gruesome trailer was shown before a presentation of the wild and crazy RUBBER'S LOVER from director Shozin Fukui. SUBCONCIOUS CRUELTY was what everybody was talking about after that screening. The movie has yet to get any theatrical run in the United States but played a couple of times at the beloved Cinema Du Parc in Montreal Canada. It played around the world in many festivals and someone even fainted a the Sitges Film Festival a few years ago.
The movie was released on DVD in Japan in 2002 by Albatros Film and New Select. The Japanese disc looked good but was unfortunately fogged. Also I can't confirm it but I think that it was also released in Portugal by Cinema Novo. Now, Sazuma have come to the rescue and released one of the best DVD edition of the year! The movie is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio or there's the possibility the watched it matted at 1.66:1 just like when it plays on the big screen. It looks as good as a low budget movie shot on 166mm and later blown in 35mm will ever look. The image is grainy but it was intentionally that way, the colors saturation is pretty good and features rich and nicely saturated, reds, greens and blues. In the audio department we get the choice of a either 5.1 Dolby Digital or a Dolby Surround Stereo. Both sounds very good but the 5.1 DD track clearly adds more atmosphere to the film. Subtitles are available in English, German and Dutch. On the first disc we also get the very effective trailer. The movie is separated in 18 chapters and features superbly done animated morphing menus with music. There is also an introduction by director Karim Hussain.
On to the second disc which is jam packed with extras. First of all we have to choose between English or German. Like the first disc, the menus are beautifuly designed and animated. "Subconcious Cruelty Christmas" is a very interesting 77 minutes documentary on the making of the film. We learn everything and anything we need to know about the movie, the director, producer, cast, crew and all the years of troubles and tribulations. This is the way documentary must be done. "La dernière voix" is a rather strange and haunting 13 minutes short Karim Hussein co-directed in 2002. Its about a world where the rain never stop and that there is no communication tools anymore. It was nominated for a Jutra which is the Quebec equivalent of an Oscar. We also get a previously unreleased 9 minutes audio track by composer David Kristian. There's the very unique and sureal comic strip of Rick Trembles about SUBCONCIOUS CRUELTY which was published in the local Mirror newspaper. Trembles even received death threads through phone after it was published.
There's an extensive photo gallery with posters, behind-the-scenes, cast and crew pix. We also get the 8mm/16mm DIVIDED INTO ZERO short film from Mitch Davis which is another sureal and twisted movie about the life of a child killer over a 70 years lifespan. There'a a 12 minutes making of featurette on DIVIDED INTO ZERO which features loads of behind-the-scenes footage and the trailer for the short film. There's also an interesting interview with Mitch Davis in text form about the making of the movies. Clips from some early short films by Davis in which we cab clearly see his love and passion for the genre. We also get a very nice and informative 16 pages booklet and the DVDs comes in an oversized and very nice cardbox. This is without a doubt one of the best DVD edition of the year thanks to Sazuma.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©