Monday, April 29, 2013

Period Piece (2006, Giuseppe Andrews)

I'd consider myself a moderate fan of Giuseppe Andrews' incontrovertibly unique style of home-movie, trailer park-set auteurism, having seen his previous features "Touch Me in the Morning" and "Trailer Town" - films that make directors like Harmony Korine and John Waters appear 'high brow'. Andrews, of course, can be traced back to his childhood roles in films like "Independence Day" and "Detroit Rock City" and, more recently, the "Cabin Fever" movies. Somehow, since his earlier involvement in film, the guy grew into an incredibly eccentric, avant-garde admirer of particularly seedy trailer park individuals, pornographic dialog and randomly arranged sequences of bizarre and perverted imagery. Personally, I think "Period Piece" is his finest example of this deranged 'vision' regarding his feature-length endeavors.

The plot is virtually non-existent. Basically just a composite of arbitrary scenes and characters often shown having sex with inanimate objects or exchanging chunks of nonsensically hilarious and headspinningly crude dialog. A few standout bits include a faux-French guy with a fake mustache that refuses to stick to his face, fucking a teddy bear with a soup can in a bathtub. That same bear (or maybe it was a different bear... Who the fuck knows?) is also seen getting fucked orally by a guy who wears crazy wigs and is supposedly a cop. There's some animated tater tots that chime in about what's going on in the movie from time to time. A dude dies after eating a package of spoiled meat that he received as a gift after it was found laying in the desert. Some guys run around siphoning gas and the film's poster-boy, Tyree, steals the entire fucking show. He's an 80-year old man who is frequently shown naked in a motel room having sex with an imaginary women while recorded sounds of fucking play. Later on, he is seen laying in bed with a dead pig - that he refers to as "Society" - of which he tries to light a cigarette for before gouging it's eyes out with a butcher knife and dancing with it... You get the idea...

Despite how ANY synopsis on this film would sound just flat out jocular and unwatchably inane through verbal or written explanation, "Period Piece" doesn't come across like Andrews' other flicks. While ALL of his works contain deeply visceral and candid 'freak show'-esque personalities who all apparently live among Andrews in the same trailer park and clearly suffer from a wide range of brain-destroying addictions and lifestyles, his previous films had more of a blatant element of silliness and humor. "Period Piece" does as well, though not to the same degree as the aforementioned features. With this one, I found myself chuckling less and instead actually hunting for some kind of message that I felt Andrews was struggling to get out. Tyree and his lonely, pig and pork rind obsessed, nude rituals, especially, which exemplified a real strangely pathetic connotation of depression and suicide.

So overall, "Period Piece" is probably the closest thing to a drama that Giuseppe Andrews has come up with in his flakey film-making career as of yet. It's got a bit more going on than, say, "Trailer Town" - which is still one of my favorite comedies of all time - and seems to go for a more... dare I say, "serious" kind of tone. It's still disgusting, often funny, confusingly bizarre and amusingly minimalist.

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