Mostly Links – 9 September 2011

By Niall Anderson

Curiously, this is the first Google Image result for 'big pile of wank'

The listings for the London Film Festival went up this week. I looked, as I always do, not for films that might actually be good, but for the things that look like the biggest pile of wank.

Step forward therefore The Natural Phenomenon of Madness, for you are the winner of the inaugural Mostly Film Biggest Pile Of Wank At The London Film Festival Award. This is the plot synopsis:

Two years after she was raped, a woman agrees to meet with her rapist in the beautiful ruins of Intramuros. As they have the same blood type, her rapist asks her to donate blood for his operation claiming this will lengthen his life and will give him ample time to seek redemption. The woman refuses to do so as she rediscovers she is still a victim of unrequited love towards her rapist …

Personally, I was exhausted just reading the title, but by the time I hit the words “unrequited love” I think I shat a kidney. Imagine what would happen if I actually saw the film.

Curiously, this is the second Google Image result for 'shit a kidney'

And that title, eh? Well, it’s not the worst of the festival by a long chalk. How about Women With Cows? Or Martha Marcy May Marlene? Or – the one that made me shit the other kidney – How To Re-Establish A Vodka Empire?

What is it about cute titles anyway? Did all the world’s film-makers sit down in 2004 to watch Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and then think, as one: “You know what’s really great about this film? The finicky, sadsack title. Let’s call everything stuff like that.”

And now it seems like an unstoppable trend. Not even the cautionary existence of Miranda July (sample titles: Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody? and Things We Don’t Understand and Are Definitely Not Going to Talk About) can put and end to it. Moreover, where in the past a non-English language film might have been given a quirky “standout” title quite different from the original, the rest of the world now seems to have caught full-blown cutes. So, for instance, I looked up the Colombian LFF entry Karen Cries On The Bus, fully expecting its original title to be something like La miseria. But it turns out it’s actually called Karen llora en un bus. I feel like the world has lost its innocence somehow.

Don't turn out like this person: the cautionary Miranda July

Next week on Mostly Film, we’ll have pop, spies, Torchwood and the only convincing argument you’ll ever hear as to why BBC4 should be killed.

Until then, here’s Harrison Ford being whipped by Barbra Streisand:

7 thoughts on “Mostly Links – 9 September 2011

  1. Now, I actually quite fancy seeing How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire. And the fact that I looked at it closely enough to decide that means the title must have worked on some level (when you’ve got only the on-line program to skim, you can’t look at every film).

    Even the title of The Natural Phenomenon of Madness intrigued me enough to click on it – but the LFF synopsis definitely made me decide it was not for me. So maybe I’m the sort of sucker these titles are aimed at.

    Mind you, I’d run a mile from anything Miranda July has done…

  2. I know the Vodka Empire guy glancingly, and he seems great and I want to see his film. Also, it is about exactly what the title says. However, I will defend to the death your right to call it a pile of wank, sight unseen. It’s what we all fought and died in WW2 for.

  3. Hey, I never said it was a pile of wank – I said the title made me shit a kidney.

    And I do think that if you’re going to make a film about your Eastern European ancestors (destroyed by revolution and pogrom) you need to avoid sounding like you’re Jonathan Safran Foer.

  4. “the preceding day’s launch of the Raindance programme”

    Two films with ‘Casserole’ in the title. What’s that all about then? Is the casserole craze, as predicted in Look Around You, now upon us?

  5. Ah, I should have read the description more closely. One is just a making-of docu of the other. So maybe we’ll have to wait a bit longer for those Big C restaurants…

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