Friday, January 25, 2008

Coffin Joe's Sleep-Inducing "Awakening"

The Coffin Joe series goes seriously astray in 1969's Awakening of the Beast, an incomprehensible film that was somewhat foolishly suppressed by the Brazilian government.

If it makes no sense and is boring as all get out, how can it be subversive?

The idea, as far as I can figure after watching the thing twice, is that Jose Mojica Marins is part of a TV panel discussing the drug problem. We then get taken into the druggie world, with vignettes of assorted kookaboos and wackadoodles doing their various and tedious things.

There's a scene between a young woman and a bunch of male students that is sort of interesting in a clinical way, and Ze do Caixho pops up here and there to question the existence of being.

But the endless color LSD trip sequence completely negates whatever residual Coffin Joe-ness the audience might retain. It's worse than Corman's The Trip, and that's saying something.

I'm surprised some bright young cineaste hasn't tried to compare Awakening of the Beast with Godard's "Hey Lookit Me!" period - One Plus One, for instance.

Alas, this clunker comes with the Coffin Joe casket set so the buyer is stuck with it.

Summary: Some extremely half-hearted breasts. Hippie students. Psychiatrists with syringes. Brazilian folk-rock ("War! Peace! We're all going to die!"). Ultra-tedious LSD trip in color, with some whippings. Gratuitous references to Coffin Joe, to the director, and to Art.

Dumber and longer than The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies, my previous benchmark for bad hippie-era CACA.

Half a coil.

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