The Portland International Film Fest shows some guts
Film festivals push boundaries: Tribeca recently screened intensely violent The Killer Inside Me, Sundance accepted a doc about men loving horses too much, and there's even a highly respected fest on the French Riviera completely dedicated to breasts. Lending a transgressive streak to the Portland International Film Festival: PIFF After Dark.
New this year, Dark's a series of "bizarre and violent as hell" midnight flicks, curated by the dude behind the local gore-tastic Grindhouse movie series, created when organizers realized their long-running celluloid geek-out was being "labeled as a fest for silver hairs", which is still way better than one for Silverchair. Dark's inaugural program comes out swinging with mind-bending offerings like:
Mutant Girl Squad: A young woman discovers she's inherited a mutant gene and joins the vengeful Girl Squad, who boast powers like retractable booty chainsaws and samurai boob-swords, which must be hell on blouse bills when the weather gets nipply.
Outrage: Takeshi Kitano (Fireworks, Battle Royale) wrote, directed, and starred in this film built around the different ways each character dies (gunfire, rapid gunfire, unseen gunfire), resulting in a Yakuza crime film that shows "the underbelly of Japan", also seen by the Undertaker when he got pinned by Yokozuna.
Rubber: This French film with blessedly English dialogue follows a tire (yes, a tire) as it terrorizes a rural desert community with telekinetic powers that allow it to explode people's heads, resulting in more screaming and Les Schwabbing.
The Revenant: The dark comedy follows a soldier who's killed in the Middle East, only to return as a zombie-ish vampire who teams up with his buddy to become a blood-sucking vigilante, and features a scene involving headlessness and marital aids, which generally seem to go together.
While Dark is only a small portion of the total festival experience, PIFF offers a few other odd non-midnight pictures like a car chase-packed, marathon-runner-as-thief joint from Austria called The Robber, and the violent clown-at-war epic The Last Circus, featuring a love triangle with an acrobat who the trailer proves should've been awarded Breast Supporting Actress.