Monday, May 4, 2009

Mondo Digital reviews “CODEX ATANICUS”

“Apparently Spain has its share of lunatics, too, if you take a look at Codex Atanicus: Three Wild Tales, a trio of short films by Spanish avant garde filmmaker Carlos Atanes, who’s been churning out mind-bending shorts since the early 1990s. The first and earliest, “Metaminds & Metabodies,” is a shot-on-video 20-minute fantasy about a beer hall outside the entrance to Hell, where a group of debauched arrivals live it up and raving women entertain the audience while lashed to the wall. Or something like that. A likely descendant of the Panic Movement which spawned filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky and Fernando Arrabal, it quickly sets the pace for what’s to come and, despite the very low technical quality, it’s a suitably frenzied intro. Next up in “Morfing,” essentially a longer expansion on the same theme with Atanes playing “himself” as an unhinged director who wants to off himself while doing a TV pilot, and a girl intervenes to stop him by introducing him to a world of mutated, sexualized grotesqueries that, er, climaxes in a most unforgettable fashion. Oh, and it also features some now-famous Spanish filmmaking personalities, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Finally, “Welcome to Spain” must be the strangest tourist endorsement ever as two visiting guys by a roadside end up tangling with a quartet of psychos thrashing around with a bunch of chickens, coughing up blood, attacking each other, and yanking their pants down in a bright orange stairwell. It’s guaranteed to get a reaction even among seasoned experimental film fanatics. The collection is introduced by actress Arantxa Peña, who appears in many of his films. Certainly the perfect title for those who think they’ve seen it all.”

(From Mondo Digital)

More info about Carlos Atanes films at

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