Sunday, August 5, 2012


No one has been more dedicated to going back to the future than Canadian experimental filmmaker Panos Cosmatos with his meditative horror mash-up, “Beyond the Black Rainbow,” now playing in the late night spot at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
His father is Greek/American director George Cosmatos (“Rambo: First Blood Part II,” “Tombstone”). Young Panos grew up in the movie business in the 1980s, and received a crew credit on “Tombstone.” The son also credits himself with being a self-taught filmmaker.
“Beyond the Black Rainbow” gets compared in some film magazines to the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Stanley Kubrick. Also in there is another Canadian, David Cronenberg.
But this is young Cosmatos’ first feature film. He has a lot to learn about drama and pacing before he can reach the level of those icons.
“I wanted the film to be like slow motion suspense,” he told one film magazine. “I wanted to explore the moods and tones and themes” that are contained within a simple story of one beautiful young woman’s need to escape from brainwashing torture in an isolated and sterile hospital-looking environment.
 Cosmatos has the slow motion part down pat, if not the suspense part. It is maddeningly slow, and the plot is defiantly simple. There is never any complexity to clutter up endless strings of dialogue-free scenes that seem to last forever.
If it wasn’t for the truly sinister film score composed by Jeremy Schmidt there would be long lapses in clues as to what emotion Cosmatos was going after.
Film fans of horror movie classics from the 1980s (you know who you are) will appreciate this director’s diligence for going back to the future. He sets his picture in futuristic 1983, using lighting, film and sound recording equipment from that period. Even going so far as to having the music played on an old school analog synthesizer.
Such antique atmosphere is very convincing as he turns grainy lo-fi film, stark sets, odd camera angles and eternal pauses in dialogue and action into a strange mosaic that becomes by turns both loopy and trippy. By his own admission, Cosmatos calls “Beyond the Black Rainbow” his own “bizarre art film.”
The evil doctor is played by Michael Rogers. His pretty patient, internalizing all of her lines, is Eva Allan. A few other characters pop up now and then, but Rogers and Allan are the ones you remember.

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