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Amy's in the Attic - Black Flag Pictures Print E-mail
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Written by Chris Mayo   
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
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AKA: Cosa Avete Fatto A Amy?

Directed by: Matthew Saliba
Written by: Matthew Saliba
Cast: Kayden Rose, Lisa Di Capa, Chastity Castro, Sebastien Fournier, Matt Lacas, Matthew Saliba
Year: 2010
Country: Canada
Language: English, Italian (English subtitles)
Color: Color
Runtime: 23 minutes

Studio: Black Flag Pictures

Matthew Saliba ("She Was Asking For It", "Dark Lotus"), places a disclaimer at the beginning of his latest conception, "Amy's in the Attic" that is a superb nod at certain uncut Italian releases on DVD.  You know those DVD's from companies like Anchor Bay, Blue Underground and most recently One 7 Movies with their release of "Scandalous Gilda" which contains portions of the film presented in Italian with English subtitles to preserve the film in its uncut entirety?  "Amy's in the Attic" recreates the same occurrence.  Saliba states that the film "has been created from one of the few remaining 35MM prints and is reconstructed in the most distressed  areas from elements of an Italian 16MM print."  Thusly "these portions are presented in Italian with English Subtitles."

The story begins with a melange of socialites who believe they are attending a swinger's party hosted by a guy named Alucard (Matthew Saliba).  When sexual exploits don't seem to be in the horizon, two of the attendees make their way to the door to leave.  Before they make their exit however, Alucard apologizes and suggests a game to liven things up.  He proposes that he will draw a random name and whomever he chooses must be a slave for the evening and do what ever the others command.  They all agree to the game which seems innocent enough and lucky for us, Amy (Kayden Rose, "Matthew Saliba's Vampyros Lebsos") is selected.  She is quickly ordered to "take it off," commencing the evening's affairs.  What begins with Amy told to perform a harmless striptease, escalates into further lascivious behavior from our partygoers, conclusively crossing the boundaries of fun and games.

Saliba exceptionally recreates the sleazy feeling of the genres best exploitation films.  From the intensification of the "activities" enacted upon Amy and the perfect choice of songs for the soundtrack ("Season of the Witch" and "Lalena" by Donovan to name just a couple), right down to the cheesy Italian-to-English subtitles and the degraded filter over the visuals giving you that gritty feel , "Amy's in the Attic" is a great throwback to 70's Eurotrash.  Thusly illustrating the point that this is my favorite film from Matthew Saliba.  There's even a nice salute to "Last House on Dead End Street", via degradation in black face.

The feature length version of "Amy's in the Attic" is currently in pre-production so be sure to keep a look out for that release.  "Chow bitches!"

Black Flag Pictures presents this top notch Saliba release 16:9 with the audio a blend of English and Italian with English subtitles.  This release is chock-full of supplemental material.  There is a 'Behind the Scenes Featurettes' section containing eight featurettes: 'Blackface', 'Creating Illusion of Horror', 'Fly in the Attic', 'Mexican Chairs', 'Non Union Actors', 'The Italian Dub', 'The Look of Amy' and 'Working with Matt', each hosted by King-Wei Chu.  There are also two 'Commentaries'.  The first is a humorous and casual confrontational commentary hosted by King-Wei Chu with director Matthew Saliba.  The second is with the cast.  The disc contains three 'Bonus Shorts': "La Fin de Notre Amour" and the great works, "Pandora's Paradox" and "The Manipulator and the Subservient."  Finalizing the extras is an animated 'Still Gallery'.

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As originally reviewed for Gorezone.net in 2004, here are my reviews of "Pandora's Paradox" and "The Manipulator and the Subservient."  These reviews are an interesting look at Saliba's beginnings as a filmmaker.

THE MANIPULATOR AND THE SUBSERVIENT

"The Manipulator and the Subservient" is the directorial debut of underground Montréal based filmmaker Matthew Saliba.  Released in 2003, the film focuses around a handful of characters, entangled in a dreamlike world of s&m, spandex-clad Mailmen, and -- squash.

Like both of Saliba's films, they are undoubtedly open to analysis.  I have viewed both "Manipulator" and Saliba's second film "Pandora's Paradox" on numerous occasions, and each time you begin to think -- wait a minute, maybe this could be the explanation, or this is what the symbolism stands for.  Simply giving a scene by scene summary of this film without an individual interpretation would be pointless, the same goes for my review of "Paradox," so without intruding too much on the open interpretation of Saliba's films, I will give my adaptation of "The Manipulator and the Subservient."

This film centers around a young couple and their slave (the subservient, or The Young Man, as titled on the IMDb played by our director).  The young couple, "The Stud", and "The Moviestar" make love, and eat meals while the slave obediently waits at bedside, or acts as a footrest for the female character (Marcelino) whilst adorned with a choker and chain.  Cut to present day and the slave is now an old man (Thomas), living unhappily with the monotony of his everyday life and non-domineering wife (Berthiaume).  On one all too regular day the old man decides to unearth a symbolic squash from the dirt, slice it, and run a steaming bath for it, leaving it to cultivate into his lost love the manipulating movie star.  This very same day the Mailman (Evin) brings a package to the couple containing the very same or similar chain/choker the old man once wore in his younger subservient days. Night comes and the old man is awakened from his slumber by a burst of red Susperian light coming from the bathroom -- birthing once more his beautiful master from his squash placenta. She vomits the remaining squash on his face -- one last taste of the past when she was in control of her subservient, giving him a glimpse of when he was truly contented, away from the tedium of an ordinary life as an old man.

I may be way off here, or possibly right on the money -- but really, who cares?  I've been able to watch this 11 minute short many times and still get a kick out of it. That is the beauty of a film like "The Manipulator and the Subservient," without the linear structure, you can take what you want from it and not be wrong because it is your own interpretation.  The film is skilfully shot with nice lighting, colors and shadows, and an attention to detail.  The 16mm film it was photographed on looks great and one couldn't imagine it captured any other way.  With the DV explosion, anyone can pump out a film, good or bad.  With a solid script and foundation as this film has, it is good when a director like Saliba takes the extra effort to actually shoot a short on film, and have an attention to detail to create this type of atmosphere with this solid first film.

PANDORA'S PARADOX

Matthew Saliba's first venture into filmmaking, "The Manipulator and the Subservient" quickly became among some of my favorite short films.  Being very stylish and truly surreal, his directorial style continues with his latest short film "Pandora's Paradox," which shows the evolution and growth of Saliba as a storyteller and filmmaker.

With films like these, it's hard to pigeonhole them into a straight and narrow plotline since they are completely open to individual interpretation.  I watched this short now several times, and each time I have gotten different things from each viewing.  Initially I was overwhelmed with the oddity of the film, it taking me on this completely oddball journey. Then after repeated viewings, I picked up hidden things within the story, which maybe only I found. That is the beauty of it all. You can take what you will from "Pandora's Paradox."

The film is as surreal as they get, with beautifully shot sequences and lighting with plenty reds and blues for Argento fans. This time around Ungodly makes better use of the camera (take notice of the kitchen/under the table right to left pan) finding different angles, and the camera explores the scenes more frequently, with less stationary shots than "Subservient."

The story is basically about a woman who gives birth to a giant toe. Once fed milk the toe hatches into the boy in the story, and the journey into mindfuck begins.  "Pandora's Paradox" has a whole s&m, torture, birth theme throughout the film, leaving me with my own clarification of the film.  I felt with all the weird s&m imagery and the young boy witnessing this -- his mother, gasmask to face to penis, booster cables attached to her breasts, it was almost like a symbol of sexual and mental abuse toward the boy, resulting in him wanting to return to the womb to get away from it all.  I don't want to delve much deeper than that into the storyline of the film, since I would end up giving an entire plot summary.

"Pandora's Paradox" is a fast paced short film, at 24 minutes, you never once glance for the clock, no matter how confused, overwhelmed or intrigued you are.  Saliba is a unique filmmaker of today, and no one right now is making the types of films he is.  Not since David Lynch's early shorts have I been witnessed to such a different, truly dreamlike (or nightmarish) experience.
 

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 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 16:9
 Region: NTSC 1
 Audio: English, Italian


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Behind the Scenes Featurettes
 - Two Commentaries
 - Short Films: La Fin de Notre Amour, Pandora's Paradox, The Manipulator and the Subservient
 
- Still Gallery
 


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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 December 2010 )
 
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