Inside Encounters #3- Preview: Late Lounge
From the peculiar to the perverse and the downright perverted, Late Lounge is one of Encounters’ most popular returning programmes. Containing a mix of live action and animated shorts, this controversial adults-only strand is surely the festival’s most divisive — and the one that sparks the most interesting conversations.
Hyper-violent acid trip Perfect Drug (dir. Toon Aerts, Belgium), with its Japanese goths and giant snake, is an ode to the B-movie. Bizarre imagery like glowing test tubes, seedy motels and an enormous naked man are seemingly inspired by auteurs like Leos Carax (Holy Motors), Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers) and David Lynch.
Cochemare (dir. Maciek Szczerbowski, Canada) is equally nightmarish, combining stop-motion animated snails and mythical goblins with a strange, silver woman in a film that explores fantasy, voyeurism and masturbation.
There is a dark sense of humour that links the films in this strand. This is never more apparent than in shorts Trusts and Estates (dir. Jeanette Bonds, U.S.), Vengeance Rhythm (dir. Christopher Ullens de Schooten, U.K.) and Baby I Love You (dir. Faiyaz Jafri, U.S.A.). While Trusts and Estates, an acerbic animated documentary that centres around an incredibly candid — and crass — conversation between three Californian lawyers, dabbles in verbal black comedy, Vengeance Rhythm and Baby I Love You take a more graphic approach. If the former’s animated protagonist can be said to expel her dark side á la The Exorcist, then the former plays out like a twisted version of Seth MacFarlane’s Ted, containing an amount of gore that would make even Quentin Tarantino’s stomach churn.
More light-hearted are The Royal (8- BIT) Jubblies (dir. Liam Tate & Jamie Stanton), which contains an amusing musical number, and surrealist short O Sunce (Ham Story) (dir. Eliska Chytkova, Czech Republic), a hand-drawn animation awash with rogue body parts and flying hams.
One of the programme’s hidden gems is student mockumentary Daisy (dir. Charlie Taylor, U.K.), a moving snapshot into the fictional life of a clownish, closeted cross-dresser. My personal highlight? Whaled Women (dir. Ewa Einhorn, Sweden), an animated comedy that recalls early episodes of South Park and is a sweary, satirical exploration of multiculturalism and feminism. Don’t miss it.
By Simran Hans