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Film Scratches: Meta-Fetishes – Flowers and Bottoms (2016)

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Film Scratches focuses on the world of experimental and avant-garde film, especially as practiced by individual artists. It features a mixture of reviews, interviews, and essays.

A Review by David Finkelstein.

In Flowers and Bottoms, an amusingly strange six minute film by Christos Massalas, we begin by watching the back of a man’s head. He receives a phone message from a friend recommending a video, which we then proceed to watch over his shoulder. The video, as might be expected, is a collection of people’s butts coupled with flowers.

This film-within-a-film is wittily made, a send-up of those odd video art pieces all over Vimeo, in which a very particular niche obsession is lovingly explored from multiple angles. The bottoms are male and female, fat and thin, although the flowers are much less varied and interesting, mostly looking like plastic lilies. The settings range from a bathroom to the seashore, and no shot lasts longer than about 15 seconds.

flowers-and-bottoms2 (1)Why does Massalas embed this study of flowers coupled with bottoms within the larger framing device of a man following his friend’s (overtly seductive) recommendation? I suspect the film Massalas really wanted to make was simply the flowers and bottoms, but he got scared that it would seem too weird, that someone might really think he had a fetish for flowery butts, so he needed the ironic distancing device to turn the whole thing into a comment on contemporary mores and the use of social media. The result is quirky, funny, and well-done, and has proved popular with festival audiences, but I can’t help but wish he had had the courage to simply show us the flowers and bottoms and own up to the strange appeal of his idea, undiluted.

David Finkelstein is a filmmaker, musician, and critic. For more information on Film Scratches, or to submit an experimental film for review, contact lakeivan@earthlink.net.

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