The Cut-Ups is an experimental film by British filmmaker Antony Balch and American writer William Burroughs, which opened in London in 1967. It was the second time Balch and Burroughs had collaborated after their earlier Towers Open Fire. The Cut-Ups was part of an abandoned project called Guerrilla Conditions meant as a documentary on Burroughs and filmed throughout 1961-1965.
The film contains 19 minutes of someone saying “Yes, Hello?”, “Look at that picture,” “Does it seem to be persisting?,” and “Good. Thank you,” accompanied by a repetition five or six basic film clips shot in New York City and featuring Brion Gysin.
Inspired by Burroughs’ and Gysin’s technique of cutting up text and rearranging it in random order, Balch had an editor cut his footage for the documentary into little pieces and impose no control over its reassembly. The film opened at Oxford Street’s Cinephone cinema and had a disturbing reaction. Many audience members claimed the film made them ill, others demanded their money back, while some just stumbled out of the cinema ranting “its disgusting”.
Included in The Cut-Ups are shots of Burroughs acting out scenes from his book Naked Lunch. The idea of bringing Naked Lunch to the big-screen was Balch’s dream project. First developed in 1964, a script was completed in the early 1970s which would have adapted the book as a musical. Personal differences between Balch and the film’s would-be leading man Mick Jagger caused the project’s collapse.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you are about to see scenes from the most unusual picture of all time. We urgently recommend if you have a heart condition, or if you are with a young and impressionable child, that you leave this auditorium.” –trailer for Blood Feast
Carradine once commented on Roger “never lost a dime” Corman‘s career that “It’s almost as though you can’t have a career in this business without having passed through Roger Corman’s hands for at least a moment.”
Pamela Suzette Grier (born May 26, 1949) is an iconic American actress. She came to fame in the early 1970s, after starring in a string of moderately successful women-in-prison and blaxploitation films, and has generally remained in the public eye, starring in B-movies such as 1974’s Foxy Brown, and in mainstream films such as Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film, Jackie Brown.
Chances are slim that you come across this film if you live outside of Europe or even Dutch-speaking countries, but if you see this film playing near you, don’t miss it. Warmerdam is the best director of The Netherlands and has been for some time now. His palmares includes Abel (1986), The Northerners (1992), Little Tony (1998), Grimm (2003) and Waiter (2006).
The Last Days of Emma Blank (Dutch original: De Laatste dagen van Emma Blank) is a Dutch film by Alex van Warmerdam released in May 2009. The film is co-produced with La Parti Productions in Belgium and is the story of Emma Blank, a rich woman who is incurably ill and who is living her last days. She is surrounded by personnel who patiently await her death, which takes longer that originally envisioned.
Chas (James Fox) is a “performer,” an ultra-violent enforcer for an East London gang who begins to enjoy his work a little too much, culminating in the murder of an associate. He goes on the run, both from the police and from his former colleagues and finds himself a hideout in the house of a reclusive, eccentric rock star named Turner (Mick Jagger) who lives there with his female friends. Chas and Turner are initially repelled by each other, but come to see that the worlds of the rock star and the gangster are not as different as they first appear.