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February 16, 2006

Forgive Me


Vergeef Me
Cyrus Frisch - 2001
Reel 23 PAL Region 0 DVD

In the brief biography that comes with Forgive Me, Cyrus Frisch is compared with Michael Haneke and Lars von Trier. Not even close, but give Frisch a couple of points for chutzpah. Frisch, seen in the above still, is interested in confrontational film and theater in the name of some kind of abstract truth. At the very least, he is the only filmmaker I am aware of who has been filmed running through the streets naked with a camera.

In the beginning of his film, the Dutch Frisch is filmed discussing the impact of information and visual overloads on television viewers. Frisch's goal is to make a film so transgressive that he changes Dutch viewing habits. In his statement he writes: " By vigorously and openly exceeding the borders of the acceptable, I hoped to get some understanding of the exploitation of human suffering on film and television and stir up the opinions. Something like that." While the proclaimed goal of ending violence and misery on television is praiseworthy, Frisch fails absolutely.

The drug and alchohol addled characters that Frisch films become part of the spectacle that Frisch claims to criticize. In the first sequence, two people fall out of their chairs in documented stupor. Frisch mounts a stage production titled "Jesus/Lover" which includes a mentally impaired man undressing and masturbating in front of the audience. In terms of using the stage to directly address and interact with the audience, Frisch seems unaware of Peter Brook or The Living Theatre. In spite of his intentions, Frisch makes a fool of himself and his "actors". In terms of transgressive cinema, what history has shown is that there is always a filmmaker willing to go beyond previously established limits not only of good taste but of bad taste. Anyone who thinks Frisch is extreme would probably be unfamiliar with Takashi Miike or the Guinea Pig series of films.

Frisch's confused sense of mission includes the incorporation of clips from Murnau's Faust. Not surprisingly, Murnau's images are the best part of Forgive Me.

Posted by peter at February 16, 2006 04:53 PM


I totally agree!

Posted by: cyrus at February 20, 2006 04:25 AM