By Niall Anderson
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.
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.
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: