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King Of The Witches


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“As grim and nightmarish as Le Sexe des Anges was playful and funny, though both share the same sense of adolescent provocation. Soukaz acknowledges that he was primarily out to spook the straights after the censorship of his Guy Hocquenghem collaboration Race d’Ep, but there’s more going on here than simple shockery. The love scenes that were so tenderly romanticized in Anges are now spliced and diced into a dizzying, aggressive montage of apocalyptic imagery, crescendoing in intensity from relatively banal juxtapositions of sucking-and-fucking with images of the Pope to gruesomely explicit scenes of heroin usage, bestiality, mass destruction, and war. The slogan “VIVRE”—apparently, according to M Kitchell’s excellent response, a rallying cry of the French gay liberation movement—intermittently flashes across the screen, acting not as a hopeful counterpoint to the appalling images on display but as an anguished, ironic refrain: life as mere morbid excess, progressing inevitably toward awful death. This mortality is given voice by the frightening bursts of distorted laughter that frequently break through the palpitating soundtrack, the faceless embodiment of the true authority overseeing the film’s depravity, which fittingly (and chillingly) gets the last word. It’d be incorrect, as well as being painfully cliché, to suggest that Ixe anticipates the AIDS crisis, but the final sequence of the film—in which the image itself seems to “die” and we are left only with monstrous laughter echoing over a black screen—still seems to foretell, in a manner reminiscent of Pasolini’s late period, a disastrous collapse of gay sexuality’s utopian potential into the horrific, incoherent gibberish of a violent capitalist culture. If I’m not making much sense, it’s because Ixe is such a difficult and challenging film, but whatever its ideological or aesthetic content may be (if it has any at all), it elicited an extremely powerful emotional response that I’m still struggling to put words to. This could well be a new favorite.” - Some Dude On Letterboxd