Tuesday, November 12, 2013

405. Flaming Creatures

Flaming Creatures
Directed by Jack Smith

Well, it isn't the first time The Book has forced me to watch porn and unfortunately, it probably won't be the last.

Now, I know the majority of the population would not consider forty five minutes of porn a punishment; some might even consider it a reward.  But hey, I am a young woman and the closest I ever get is Buffy fan fiction.  All right, maybe this is getting to an uncomfortable place.  I will move on.

My point is that calling this art is just giving validation to some creep who gets off on filming women pretending to get raped.  I don't even what to delve into the psychology of that one.  And it also provides him an easy out: if someone doesn't like it, they either don't get it or are prissy prudes.

Okay, so let's just ignore the content of the film for a second.  The shoddy filmmaking (again people might plead artistic choice here) is just terrible.  I could barely here what was being said and I think someone forgot to adjust the iris (see picture above).

Yes, Jack Smith shocked his audience with this one.  But it is so easy to shock people (I could take off all my clothes and make bird calls in a grocery store and achieve the same effect) but it is not so easy to make a good film.  Next.

RATING: -----

Interesting Facts:

Determined by the NY Criminal Court to be obscene.

Banned in 22 states and 4 countries.


  1. Experimental films are hard to comment on without creating one of two reactions.
    a) People call you pretentious and say you are pretending to 'get it' if you like them
    b) You are stupid if you don't

    Somehow I got both when I made a comment on IMDb about this one. I'd been intrigued but puzzled and decidedly uncomfortable that I had been 'made' to watch a rape for entertainment. In the replies I got, one person seemed to imply that if I didn't like watching rapes, I should not be watching experimental films - (presumably because the metaphor was far to highbrow for an idiot like me to get). Another said I was being pretentious. I'm not sure which part of my comment he referred to... My 'political correctness gone mad' in thinking that rape is not nice, or that (although I never want to see it again), I'd found it at least a little bit interesting (as in 'why the beep was this made'?)

    May I be allowed to ponder a version of this film without the rape scene? Why? Because that is so shocking, disturbing that it discolours one's whole view of the film. It certainly brought me to a stop and made me feel VERY uncomfortable for watching it.
    Before that, I'd found it.. well intriguing, Weird, and I wasn't enjoying the grainy, disjointed aspect, but as a sort of celebration of a sexual LGBT sexual counter culture, well, good for them. OK, I've seen MUCH better films that do that, but, hey, come on, this is meant to be different. So far so.. 'interesting'*
    I'd disagree that this was porn. I don't see how anyone would get turned on by this. Well, at least no one who should be out on the streets. In my jottings in the margin I said at the time "Someone had fun making this". well, maybe they did.. that does not mean we have to have fun watching it. So, a bit of art school sexual diversity oddness that deserves a mention. By far not one of the worst experimental films in the book, I was, to a small extent, glad to have seen it.. Don't forget, I'm still thinking of the cut version without the rape... Oh if only they had not put that in.. I may even have defended this film..

    Sorry, a bit of a ramble.

    FOOTNOTE * I'm not sure if the use of the word 'interesting' in the inverted comma has a meaning in US English. Here it is used in a phrase such as "Sorry I'm late, we took an 'interesting' route to get here". Meaning we got lost. Not lost as "we are so lost we will die in this forest and get eaten by bears", but lost as in we didn't know where we were and didn't even know there was a forest near here. Certainly not one with bears in it.

    1. Hi Ray!
      Ah, yes the trap of the experimental film. You will always either be a philistine or a pseudo-intellectual. For you to achieve both with your imdb comment, well, that is quite the achievement!

      When I said porn I was referring to the lesbian sex and the touching of the…things. If there is one thing that my romantic life proves, it is that I really don't know what men want so I am not an expert on classifying porn.

      I knew when I was watching it that it would probably get some praise for depicting LGBT characters. However, I found the characters to be portrayed as some right wing nut job's nightmare: sinister, grotesque, and freakish.

      No need to apologize; when I saw your comment was long I got excited! You bring up such excellent points; I am so glad to have you here!

      I definitely agree that if the rape scene wasn't in there it would be a much more digestible film. And that is interesting (without the sarcastic quotation marks) about the word interesting. Your comments always make me laugh!

  2. Part of the problem is that we like films for a set of reasons. Cinema, action, adventure, romance etc. Make us laugh, make us cry.

    But this is not the same thing. It's a totally different type of art made for a very different type of viewer. It's film so it's reasonable to put in on the list, but having us pass comment is irrelevant unless we happen to have a coincidental interest in the genre.

    Controversial subjects have a much more valid place in art than cinema. Being shocking can often be core to it.

    I found this difficult to watch, but I can also appreciate it a bit from a high level. Anything beyond that I have to leave to the art fans to decide either way.

    1. Art is pretty impossible to define. I kind of have the "I can't define it but I know when I see it" philosophy. And I really don't think a drag queen eating shit fits the bill. For me, at least.

  3. I've got some friends who are into fine art and have often been taken along to their art shows. Whilst drag queens eating shit may be more shocking than most or anything I can think of off the top of my head, it's certainly just a 4/10 on the weird scale. As someone said to me once "You're not supposed to understand it, it's art".

  4. I think the purpose of art should be to better understand each other. I am scared of what 10/10 would be.

  5. I think I can sum up this movie in three words: Infantile, stupid and unnecessary.
    Waving a dick in our faces, how lame is that?
    The sex scenes are not hot, provocative or shocking. They are just stupid. And drags taking a swing? Well, you have musicals for that.
    That this movie is even noticed is the only thing shocking about it.

    1. I know. I hate that the Listmakers gave this any attention.