Black Garden | Chicago Reader

Black Garden

Austrian filmmaker Dietmar Brehm says that he makes horror films, and while the six short films comprising Black Garden, made between 1987 and 1999, have only the barest hint of narrative, they share with the genre an eye for sexual perversity and the use of synthetic cutting to link the observer with the observed, even when they're in different locales. In one film, a man hidden behind dark glasses is intercut with close-ups of sex organs and intercourse, suggesting both a watcher of horrors and the master manipulator of the mad-doctor movie. In another, a nude, bound woman is intercut with a surgical operation; the two shots don't seem to occupy the same physical space, but connecting them in this way is enough to make the skin crawl. At times Black Garden has the orgy-in-a-broom-closet feel of Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures, though the orientation here is appropriately aggressive: interposing a snake eating a rodent with a woman giving a blow job may not be totally misogynist, but it's not exactly romantic either. 108 min.


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