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Now, my challenge to the rapey Greek film industry is still open:
name ONE Greek film where a man gets raped by a man.
There is none. Man-on-man rape is so taboo in Greece that Greek filmmakers can’t even begin to visualize a man getting raped on screen instead of a woman.

 

It’s important that Lewis uses the word “rape” not because it foretells Bobby’s rape but because it shows how cavalier men are in using the language of one of the worst things that can happen to a person but is predominantly only likely to happen to women; he uses it to signify that something beautiful will become tainted. And that type of language use can even imply that a victim of rape makes someone worthless to society, i.e. victim shaming, something that ‘s inherent in the lower percentage reports of rapes vs. the number of men and women who actually are raped. Victims don’t want to face accusatory words or have their behavior analyzed down to every minute detail in order to ascertain whether or not sex was coerced. I can feel some of our readers rolling their eyes, but men freely use that word out of context because their gender doesn’t have the innate context of what it feels like to be statistically likely to be raped and thus adding protection measures to numerous situations in which it would feel foreign for a man to protect himself from unwanted sexual attention.

The river trip and Lewis’ description of it is a perfect vessel for analyzing manhood because the river pushes the men via a “wild and untamed” force. Not only does it test the men’s resolve but it enhances their feeling of freedom; much like men can wander the streets drunk and alone at night, and though they might be on edge or aware of others who might want to fight or rob them, sexual assault is not on their mind like it would more likely be for a woman in that same scenario.

(To be safe, perhaps this is where I should mention that I myself was sexually abused as a youth, but even despite living through that I do not feel unsafe in many scenarios that a woman would start to feel unsafe or at least acutely aware of her surroundings; and though sexual violence is also established to be more frequent than our data shows for boys and men, without speaking for everyone, I do think that most male survivors would say that their gender affords them a privilege in many situations to not feel unsafe.)

Sexual assault being the last thought of what could go wrong for a man in a situation is very important for Deliverance.

And that’s when he’s taken back into the woods by gunpoint, forced to strip, and Ed is tied to a tree forced to watch, as it does escalate to rape because Bobby complies with each demand thinking that the alternative would be death.

The shocking rape scene in Deliverance has made many men wonder why it happens. It’s important to note that in the more frequent rape scenes of women the motives of the man aren’t questioned. We don’t condone it, but we accept that it happens, and most don’t need to know extra motivation. John Boorman introduces the rapist the same way that many films have always introduced a rape scene involving a man and woman: as a stranger who simply emerges, commits a horrific act, and then vanishes. For decades of storytelling, writers and directors felt no need to add motivation to that scenario, it’s just accepted that that’s a threat. And that’s how Boorman sets up this scene and it’s ingenious because it should force men to grapple with why this movie is so uncomfortable for them but perhaps so easy to accept and not question a rape scene involving a woman. It also essentially plays out the sickening “she was asking for it” argument equivalent with another man substituted for a woman. Bobby’s simple bootlegging comment shifted the whole situation into something where the mountain man felt he needed to show his power and superiority over him. And of course a man in the audience will think that is wrong and can hopefully make the leap to all “asking for it” defenses are disgustingly wrong.

Deliverance should be something that, if they aren’t there already, puts men in a victim’s shoes, simply by being another man, and teaches them that it is the most debasing thing that a human can do to another human.

http://collider.com/deliverance-rape-scene-explained/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=collidersocial#interview

The death of Mary Tsoni, Alexander Voulgaris and the Sexy Tragic Muse trope

by

the Same Κωλόπαιδο Who Usually Researches And Writes These Blog Articles

KaiToteEgineToKako

Περιμένω να δω σε κάποιο νεαρό κορίτσι το πρόσωπο της φίλης μου που κρεμάστηκε στα 17 της
The Boy, Δεν

 

Αν ο καθένας κοίταζε μόνο τον εαυτό του, να μη βοηθάει ούτε καν το διπλανό του, τα πράγματα θα ήταν καλύτερα.”
Alexandros Voulgaris in a 2009 interview

 

Σου είχα πει πως είσαι
Της τέχνης μου η μούσα
Μα με εμπνέεις πιο πολύ όταν είσαι απούσα

 

When I first read Alex’s response to Mary Tsoni’s death I honestly didn’t know what to make of it:

«Το σώμα σου – Τα χέρια μου – Το πρόσωπό σου – Τα μάτια μου»

“Your body, my hands, your face, my eyes”…

What was that supposed to mean, other than being a reference to the Photoshopped cover image of their album “Mary and the Boy Praying For Your Sins” which is a mash up of Alex’s and Mary’s portraits airbrushed to form a single creature? Going through my archive I discovered that a couple of years ago in 2014 I had actually published a short horror story inspired by Alex’s creative output. I was writing these surreal horror stories at the time trying to deal with my anger, disappointment and rage towards Alex about the stuff I had discovered about him bein a pedophilia apologist. The story I rediscovered in my archive was titled: “Your eyes, your hands and the girl next to you”… Could it be that Alex was subconsciously referencing my story title in his tribute to Mary? And I swear that the title I came up with back in 2014 was not in reference to the Mary and the Boy album cover he was referring to.

“Was it suicide?” a friend and band-member asked me about Mary Tsoni’s death after I had shown him all the tributes I had collected from the Greek media. I told him that self-destructive people are not necessarily suicidal. That self-destructive behaviour is often a cry for help, a person crying out “Help me, I don’t know how to live!” rather than a commitment to self-destruct oneself to death. My impression is that Mary Tsoni wanted to live. The fact that she up called up the paramedics and asked them to come and save her strengthens my belief that her death was not a suicide but rather a mistake and an accident. This hush of mine is difficult to fact-check due to the hypocritical reporting of her death by the Greek media who are not giving us the specific facts about her untimely demise. Only one Greek article went into the public secret about Mary Tsoni’s life and death that all the other media refused to bring up:

Ηταν φανερό, εδώ και πολλά χρόνια, στις ξαφνικές εναλλαγές στη συμπεριφορά της, στον τρόπο που χανόταν, εμφανιζόταν, για να εξαφανιστεί ξανά, στον τρόπο που, ενίοτε, ζητούσε βοήθεια, συμπαράσταση ή προστασία από τους άλλους. Φαινόταν σε κάθε της έκφραση, σε κάθε της κίνηση.

Ηταν όμως δύσκολο να βρει τη χείρα βοηθείας που αναζητούσε, το αποκούμπι που έψαχνε, γιατί η ίδια δεν ήταν έτοιμη, δεν μπορούσε να κάνει το άλμα που απαιτούσε η κατάστασή της. Δεν είχε αποφασίσει να ξεκόψει από τις εξαρτήσεις που την παγίδευαν, από τις κακές συνήθειες στις οποίες είχε ενδώσει. Τα τελευταία χρόνια, η Μαίρη Τσώνη είχε μπει σε εκείνο τον σκοτεινό δρόμο των τεχνητών παραδείσων, που δεν την οδηγούσε πουθενά. Στο αδιέξοδο. Δεν μπόρεσε να αντιμετωπίσει τις αδυναμίες της, την κατάθλιψή της, να δει τη ζωή της κατάματα και να σωθεί. Σαν να είχε παραιτηθεί.

«Μπορεί και να σε είχα σώσει», σκέφτηκε η φίλη της, το κορίτσι που βρήκε νεκρή τη Μαίρη Τσώνη μέσα στο διαμέρισμά της στα Εξάρχεια. Και θέλησε να της ζητήσει συγγνώμη που δεν την έψαξε νωρίτερα, που καθυστέρησε να φτάσει, που δεν μπόρεσε να κάνει κάτι.

Ετσι φευγαλέα, στα τριάντα της, έφυγε από τη ζωή.
Πηγή: Η ζωή εν τάφω της Μαίρης Τσώνη | iefimerida.gr

Unfortunately Mary Tsoni’s death was to be expected because of the things she did to herself from a very young age, the people she had surrounded herself with, the people she had worked with, and the very toxic social environment she found herself in as part of the Athenian hipster scene that cheered her on as she slipped down into the abyss of self-destruction, with no one reaching out to her and offering a helping hand. The sad fact is that those who had the financial ability and the ethical obligation to help her didn’t.

I didn’t want to log into WordPress at all as I’m crazy busy with all sorts of projects at the moment, but I did when I heard on the news that Mary Tsoni from Alex’s old band, Mary and the Boy was found in a comatose state from that some people online suggests was a drug overdose or a by-reaction of a toxic mix of drugs. Mary fell into a coma and passed away shortly after she was found by the paramedics who determined she had stopped breathing. She had made an emergency phonecall prior to losing consciousness pleading: “Please come and pick me up, I’m not feeling well.”

Greeks who follow the alternative music scene in Greece mostly know Mary Tsoni from the aforementioned band with Alex, but people abroad mostly know her as the actress who played the younger sister in Yiorgos Lanthimos’ breakthrough movie Dogtooth. There are comments on Youtube from fans of that movie who only discovered Mary and the Boy after researching “the actress who played the little sister” online. Before he became a famous filmmaker Lanthimos was in the Filmmakers in the Fog group with Alex and his sister Constantina and it is even less well known that Lanthimos was a onetime photographer for Mary and the Boy. I myself first discovered Mary’s music through K the Clown, the frontman of my favourite Greek rock band 2l8. In an interview K did years ago, he was asked about his favourite song by another Greek group and he mentioned being taken by the song Staring At Your Friend by the band Mary and The Boy. Just because K said he liked that song, I looked it up on Youtube and that was basically my first introduction to Mary. At the time I had no idea who Alexander Voulgaris was or that he was “The Boy” in this band. K the Clown later told me that he actually hated the version on Youtube and that he was referring to the demo version which he only got to hear because he was signed to the same indie label. He told me that the studio version was significantly different from the demo he had orginally heard. I never got to hear the demo and hope someone still has a copy they can now release posthumously.

I quickly realized that Mary was abusing drugs when I began researching Alexander’s pedophilia apologetics for my essay on the topic. All over the internet were accounts from people who had seen Mary passed out or almost passed out in the streets of Athens. I suspected the only reason she was in Lanthimos’ movie was because of her connection to Alex and the Voulgaris oikogeniocracy. Going through her IMDB profile I realized that she never did another feature movie after Dogtooth or had done much at all after Mary and the Boy broke up and stopped touring. There were some songs on Youtube with a band named Joalz and some reviews of liveshows. One of these live reviews mentioned Mary collapsing after the show. My timeline of events suggested to me that as soon as that direct connection to the oikogeniocracy was gone, as soon as Mary was a Woman Going Her Own Way, her career, her health and her sanity all went downhill. One of the news broadcasts about her death claimed that she was suffering from a prolonged depression. I was even less surprised to learn that she was suffering bouts of anxiety and had developed intense phobias, because that’s what long-term drug abuse eventually does to users: the drugs make them anxious and paranoid. However, by neglecting to report on her long-term drug abuse the Greek media falsely suggested that her depression, anxiety and phobias were merely the symptoms of a sad girl rather than the side-effects of long term drug abuse.

Last summer I looked Mary up on Youtube just out of curiosity and discovered that she had worked on a number of performance art pieces, some of which included rather extreme forms of body art (someone breaking glass and then dancing with bare feet on top of the broken glass until their feet bled). There was also a peformance she did about s Vaslav Nijinsky’ L’après-midi d’un faune (1912) with a bespectacled dancer she hugged and kissed at the end of the performance. I don’t know if that guy was her new boyfriend or not. I was actually relieved to see that Mary had moved into performance art because I hoped that this would allow her to turn over a new leaf and explore another art form. Mary looked pale and thin in the video of the Vaslav Nijinsky performance but also energetic doing some kind of a strip routine on a chair. Later in the video she sang the song “You, you, you”, one of the Mary and the Boy songs that Alexander himself still performs during his solo shows as “The Boy”.

I want to take this opportunity to extensively discuss Mary’s connection to Alexander focussing particularly the role that Alexander appears to have played in pushing Mary Tsoni further and further down the path of self-destruction. That is surely a harsh thing to say of a man who only 2 years ago was posting about Mary on Facebook reminiscing favourably about their musical collaboration, describing how proud he was of their mutual work in Mary and the Boy. The public record as I have seen it all over the internet plainly suggests that there was darker more sinister side to their collaboration that went beyond making music and being roommates in a squat in Exarchia. Alexander never explicitized whether Mary and he were just friends, lovers, fuckbuddies or poly with eachother and others. What we do know is that in this particular relationship Alexander was always the older person, older by 6 years, and as the older person it was Alex who had an ethical responsibility to look out for the much younger Mary, who had left the Island of Crete to move to Athens at the age of 16. My impressionistic interpretation of events suggests that Alexander had failed his basic duty of care towards Mary. I will explain how I made that impression after examining the texts available to me.

Alexander has openly stated in public comments and in two of his solo songs that he once had a female friend who hung herself at the age of 17. Alexander wrote a song about this friend titled “I used to call her Kurt Cobain”.

Losing a friend to suicide was an experience that clearly scarred the young Alex. Just a few years ago he wrote the following on Facebook about losing this unnamed friend the Kurt Cobain fan:

Τέλος, είχα μια αγαπημένη φίλη που την φωνάζαμε Kurt επειδή τον λάτρευε και έφυγε με τον ίδιο τρόπο στα 17 της.Ο πιο κοντινός μου άνθρωπος που έχασα.

Presumably it was Alex himself who put the idea in his friend’s head that suicide was a romantic way to go by constantly comparing her with her favourite famous dead rockstar. Alexander apparently never stopped to wonder whether the constant comparisons to Kurt Cobain weren’t as harmless as he casually presents them here when he retells this story of losing “the closest person to me.”. Many people are now aware of the fact that Kurt Cobain was a heroin drug addict. Less people are aware of the fact that Cobain took an overdose of heroin prior to shooting himself. One wonders whether Alexander’s friend was likewise abusing hard drugs like heroin at the young age of 17.

While I was doing the aforementioned research into Alex’s pedophilia apologetics I inevitably ended up reading a lot about his band Mary and the Boy as well. Alexander once stated in a Facebook that he and Mary were listening to completely different things when they started this band and that the only music artist they had in common was another celebrated drug-addict promoting the rocknroll junkie lifestyle, the artist Lou Reed who is best known for shooting up onstage and having written what is still the heroin addicts’ anthem.

αλεξανδρος βουλγαρης heeft een link gedeeld.
28 oktober 2013
LOU THREAD….Δεν υπάρχει μουσικός που να ερωτεύτηκα περισσότερο απο τον Θείο Λου.Ξεκίνησα να γραφω τα 50 god damned songs μου παίρνοντας θάρρος με το πως κατάφερνε να μιλήσει για τον εαυτό του και τους φίλους του άλλα να τον νιώθει όλος ο κόσμος. Ζαλισμένος απο την μονοτονία της φωνής του και με απο τον τρόπο που το βλέμμα του όριζε μια ολόκληρη πόλη. Οταν γνωρίστηκα με την Μαίρη ήταν η μοναδική μας κοινή μουσική αναφορά και φτιάξαμε τους Mary and The Boy απο την εμμονή μας για το τραγούδι Open House το οποίο τραγουδήσαμε και στην πρώτη μας συναυλία .

In other words, the only musician Alex and Mary had in common when they started out making music together and trying to find a musical commonground to work from was yet another artist who glamourized drug abuse and had become more famous for being a icon of onstage drug abuse than for their music. Contrary to the myths alt-nerds tell themselves, most people and especially most young people nowadays do not know the Velvet Underground at all, outside of a small circle of indie kids or art school art fags who read about Andy Warhol or might have seen that Edie movie that came out in. I myself saw the Edie Sedgwick movie Factory Girl (2006)  the second time I visited Berlin in 2007. I was not surprised to discover that Alexander hated Factory Girl. Because the Edie movie suggests that Edie was the victim of predatory men and that even her asexual and rather shallow relationship to Andy Warhol was essentially predatory and an act of consumption on his part, because Warhol used Edie up and discarded her when he was done with her. I wondered whether the real reason Alex was so upset about the Edie movie was because Alex wanted to disavow the possibility that his behaviour towards Mary might mirror Andy Warhol’s behaviour towards Edie. Maybe Alex was refusing to allow the idea that his relationship to Mary was not be the Lou Reed-Nico musical pairing he imagined them to be, but more of a Warhol-Edie thing.

During the course of my research I discovered that Alexander Voulgaris has a song on his 2004 debut solo album 50 Gawddamned Songs titled “Mary In A Strapless Bra” in which Alex appears to me making light of Mary abusing drugs in his presence:

mary is a strapless bra
(…)
Now she’s dancing in a blue light wearing a t-shirt of “The Miserables”.

Mary in a strapless bra. Her hair in a ponytail. Nose sniffing smack.
(…)
Mary in a strapless bra. Imagine the most decadence way of life.
You can see that she’s gonna be important for all of us.
(…)
Her make up is wonderful. Her look is bizarre.

The Mary in this song is undeniably Mary Tsoni because she is wearing a Les Miserables T-shirt. As mainstream Greek media have reported, Mary originally went to London to study at the Dance Attic become a musical dancer and singer in the UK:

Από την Κρήτη έφυγε για να σπουδάσει χορό. Είχε περάσει στην Κρατική Σχολή Χορού, στο φυτώριο, λόγω του νεαρού της ηλικίας της, αλλά δεν παρέμεινε για πολύ. Μετά το Λύκειο έφυγε και πήγε στο Λονδίνο για να σπουδάσει ένα είδος που αγαπούσε ιδιαίτερα, το μιούζικαλ, μια τέχνη που συνδυάζει χορό και τραγούδι.

http://www.iefimerida.gr/news/337191/i-zoi-en-tafo-tis-mairis-tsoni#axzz4h9CG2C99

If only Mary Tsoni been given the chance to realize that dream… And I can’t help but wonder whether Mary would’ve found other people to associate with and maybe even another approach to art making if she had managed to get herself a steady career as a musical performer in London, instead of having to move back to Greece to start a band with Alex, becoming a part of or maybe even just a pawn in his dark cynical worldview with is very common place in the Athenian yuppie hipster circles where Alex is revered as a film connoisseur and as an edgy lyricist with aggressive freestyle rap-like lyrics.

The above excerpted lyrics from the song Mary In A Strapless Bra suggest that Alexander was already aware of the fact that Mary was “sniffing smack” before he even started the band with her, yet he did nothing to help her kick the habit. When Alexander released this song in 2004, Mary was barely 18 and Alex himself was already 24. It bears mentioning that Alexander was already shooting his first government-funded film at the time. Alexander – as the older person, the better connected and the more established artist in the relationship – had an ethical obligation to help and look after his younger friend Mary who was a newcomer in the Athens scene. Instead of helping her and looking after her, he used her drug abuse as fodder for his song. He never stopped to think whether celebrating her drug abuse in song would encourage and enable his friend’s self-destructive behaviour. He never once wondered whether immortalizing his friend’s drug abuse in a song would encourage her in assuming she was indeed living the “most decadent way of life” – and look, the son of one of the most famous Greek filmmakers confirmed it in a song, so it must be really cool to fuck yourself up like this! Alexander never even considered that it might be better not to romanticize or celebrate her “sniffing smack”. Also, lyrics such as “Her look is bizarre” suggest that Alexander perceived Mary as the closest thing in his life to a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, living “the most decadent way of life” that Alex was either too shy or too introvert or maybe even too smart to try for himself.

Feminist Frequency – Manic Pixie Dream Girl Episode

Watching the new film-trailer for Alexander’s last and third feature movie The Thread, I noticed a scene that seems relevant here in the context of Alexander discussing his friend’s drug abuse in a song:

MaryTsoniTheNeedle

View the above still within the film trailer for The Thread here.

Alexander’s feature movie The Thread is autobiographic in the way Jodorowsky’s latest two movies were biopics, using surreal elements to exaggerate or caricature real people and events. The main character of The Thread  is a teeanged boy called Lefteris (or after the Greek word for liberty) a character based on Alexander himself and his experiences  growing up in 1990s Athens with a mother suffering from a chronic depression. In the above still image from the trailer, the character that is basically Alexander himself is holding up what is clearly a syringe. Not having seen the movie myself and not knowing what happens next, I have to wonder about this particular still image in the context of Alexander writing a song about Mary Tsoni “sniffing smack”. Does this scene from the trailer suggest that Alexander himself was doing hard drugs as a teenager in Athens? Is it even possible that Alexander either had access to smack, was shooting up smack, or that he might have even introduced Mary to smack only to write a song about it later? Maybe someone who has seen the whole movie can post a spoiler for me? Because that particular scene from the trailer does become kinda eerie in retrospect and in light of recent events. So please do let me know what it is that I am looking at here.

I began to notice a pattern here. Alexander seemed to be drawn to girls who are in one way or another fucked up: the 17 year old Kurt Cobain friend, Mary “sniffing smack”, the other unnamed broken or damaged girls who populate the songs on his debut album 50 Gawddamned Songs, women he has explained on Facebook were real people he knew in Athens at the time. These are the girls we would nowadays refer to as Suicide Girls. Alexander also appeared to be obsessed with the decadent stereotype of the emotionally unstable drug-abusing depressed female artist who openly and carelessly flirts with death and suicide yet somehow still manages to make awesome heartfelt intense music. Alexander never seemed to question just where his obsession for this particular stereotype came from (hint: predatory animals in nature usually target the sick and the infirm) but seemed to accept it as a given that Manic Pixie Dream Girls were fucked up, flirting with death and that it was actually kinda cool and hot that they were.

I realized that Alexander was obsessed with this trope of the fucked up female just from going through his film lists, which he posts to Facebook regularly. For example, I eventually wrote but didn’t publish (just because I didn’t have the time to format the very long review in HTML) an analysis of every single movie that Alexander listed in his top 100 of female leads posted to his sister Constantina’s blog Hit & Run. My close reading of this list revealed that almost every other female lead Alexander had included in his top 100 was an interpretation of an unstable or crazy female who was nevertheless a nympho or had some other troubled relationship to sex. In my analysis of Alexander’s very overtly sexualized obsession with this trope, I had linked to the following article explaining just how destructive this trope of the so-called “Sexy Tragic Muse” really is in perpetrating the most sexist stereotypes about mentally ill women:

“The Sexy Tragic Muse can be found in music, film, literature and pretty much every other form of media. She’s not dissimilar from the Manic Pixie Dream Girl – in fact, I would argue that there is some crossover between the two tropes – but she is also very much her own distinct type. She is usually young, and nearly always white. She’s often portrayed as being hyper-sexual – she’s the type that 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy was referring to when he said “Emotionally unstable women are fantastic in the sack.” She’s damaged, often as a result of sexual assault or other abuse by men. Her life carries with it some kind of Deep Lesson, usually a lesson that a male protagonist needs to learn. “

“The Sexy Tragic Muse fetishizes women’s pain by portraying debilitating mental health disorders filtered dreamily through the male gaze. The trope glamourizes addiction and illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia – diseases that are distinctly unglamorous for those of us who live with them. The Sexy Tragic Muse is vulnerable, and her vulnerability is sexualized. *Her inability to properly care for herself or make decisions on her own behalf is presented as being part of her appeal.*”

And perhaps this is the most frustrating thing about the Sexy Tragic Muse – the fact that this character type seems to be a neat way of removing a woman’s agency without the film or book or song coming across as overtly misogynistic. She occupies the intersection of ableism and sexism, and her mental illness is portrayed in a way that makes it commendable, even necessary, for others to care for her. We feel gratitude to the men that step up and save her, because she obviously cannot save herself. We feel empathy for the men that break up with her, because we see that she is difficult and volatile. We never get to see things from her perspective; often it is implied that this would be impossible, because her perspective is too confused and fractured.

It is so demoralizing to see so many narratives that treat mentally ill women as literal objects – objects that mostly exist only to fulfill men’s needs. Our pain and distress are not theirs to commodify, repackage in dreamy soft-focus, then serve up as some kind of panacea for whatever ails them.

We deserve the right to autonomy over our lives. We deserve to exist as whole people, people who might struggle, yes, but whose worth doesn’t depend on how those struggles might benefit others. We deserve the right to exist as sexual beings without having our illnesses sexualized by those who don’t experience them. We deserve the right to exist, full stop, no extra qualifiers needed.

Source: Mental Illness and the Male Gaze
by Anne Theriault for Guerrillafeminism.org
http://www.guerrillafeminism.org/mental-illness-and-the-male-gaze-anne-theriault/

The best example I can think of a stereotypical Sexy Tragic Muse trope in an American movie is the Tourettic female lead in Niagara, Niagara (1997). “Sex helps, for some reason, sex helps.”, she insists, but sex actually doesn’t help because in the end she still dies a violent death, ultimately for the betterment of the male lead who is seemingly better off without her.

Another example of a Sexy Tragic Muse is the female lead in the American movie Mozart and the Whale (2005), albeit with a happier more mainstream American ending of all the crazies united under one roof, away from mainstream America that wants to warehouse them:

Male Dutch film-makers are guilty of perpetrating the Sexy Tragic Muse trope too, for example in Paul Verhoeven’s film Turks Fruit where the character of Olga is revealed to have terminal brain-cancer which serves to both explain her crazy reckless over-sexed behaviour while at the same time suggesting – in true Protestant Dutch fashion – that she is punished with death for being such a wayward oversexed female. No one cares about a crazy girl being sexually exploited and certainly no one cares about a crazy girl dying for/because of having sex. Especially in a Protestant society that condemns but is still immensely fascinated with crazy girls and especially crazy girls that have lots of crazy sex. Worst of all are the movies where her death is depicted as some kind of sexual ersatz-catharsis.

I also suspect that the Sexy Tragic Muse is basically a de-racialized whiteman’s variation on the Tragic Mulatto film-trope, or maybe the Tragic Mulatto is just a racialized version of the same trope. The racist notion of bad blood, or the idea that someone has inherited racially tained blood and has hence inherited their bad or unrully character because of a black ancestor, is replaced here with the idea of someone having bad genes and being inherently predisposed to be crazy and over-sexed. Inevitably the character predisposed to be over-sexed is female. On the other hand, men themselves being oversexed is blamed on their “nature” which in the case of men is presented as something other than genetics or “bad blood”.

As for the Sexy Tragic Muse being, quote, “damaged, often as a result of sexual assault or other abuse by men”, in one of his Facebook posts Alexander suggested he had shot a music video of Mary that to me rather sounds more like the descripton of a porn film than a music video (not having seen the music video in question I cannot be sure of course):

Λίγες μέρες μετά γυρίσαμε και ενα βίντεοκλιπ στο οποίο δεν ακουγόταν όμως η μουσική (χαχα) άλλα βλέπαμε τη Μαίρη να την χαϊδεύουν ενα μάτσο γυμνά αγόρια (οι φίλοι μας).

So let’s put all the pieces of the puzzle together now: Mary Tsoni was in a band with Alexander, a man who had already lost a friend to suicide and who apparently did nothing to steer his new female friend away from self-destructive behaviour despite being aware of her drug abuse. Many of the Mary and the Boy songs have explicitly dark themes – I don’t obviously don’t know who wrote what but I suspect a lot of it was Alex urging Mary to write such lyrics or writing them himself and making her sing them. This suggests that Alexander was encouraging his self-destructive drug-addicted friend to explore dark themes that might trigger anxiety and phobias in a drug user, effectively pushing her further into the abyss of self-destruction. I don’t have a problem with women singing about suicide or other dark themes, since I firmly believe as a radical feminist that the destructive sexist patriarchy is meant to drive women crazy and eventually suicidal – I myself have a song about suicide on my last album – but I do have a problem with a man like Alex, who had presumably already pushed a suicidal friend over the edge by “jokingly” comparing her to Kurt Cobain, now appearing to, well, go looking for more of the same in his artistic and personal relationship to Mary Tsoni. I am sure Alex will say he was only being joking when he compared Mary Tsoni to Nico from the Velvet Underground on his Facebook wall, referring to her as “μια Νίκο του Κεραμεικού“. Alexander did not use his Kurt Cobain’s friend’s suicide as an opportunity to become a better more grounded person himself but appeared to merely want to replace the one self-destructive friend with a new one, while appearing to push the new friend to be even more self-destructive than the previous one. You could say that in the first instance with the Kurt Cobain friend, Alex was just a teenager himself and simply didn’t know how to deal with a suicidal friend at such a young age. You could say that impressionable young Alex was himself a victim of American cultural imperialism glamourizing the idea of a rocknroll suicide through mindless drug abuse and that having been completely brainwashed by the mainstream cultural industries promoting the self-destructive American rocknroll lifestyle, young Alexander simply did not know better than that rocknroll people were drugged up and fucked up on their way down into the abyss. Granted, that Alexander was himself young and impressionable the first time a close friend died on him is a somewhat valid excuse. But it becomes an unacceptable excuse when the same fucking thing happens again with another female friend that Alex appears to have pushed further and further into dark song themes rather than away from the kinds of themes that he knew would trigger self-harm with his friend entering a vicious circle where her drug-addiction is making her feel worse, which makes her phobias worse, which makes her to take more drugs to cope with her anxiety thus creating a downward spiral.

I am sure that Alex will deny everything I just theorized about and would instead pull a “James Deen” and insist that it was Mary Tsoni herself who begged him to take things further, even further than he himself wanted to. I am sure Alex will protest that Mary was the one who wanted to get into the dark themes that were brought up in Mary and the Boy songs and that he merely provided her with musical backup on the piano. You will recall that this was James Deen’s favourite excuse about S&M too. When James Deen was on the verge of being exposed as a serial abuse, his defense was to insist that female dominatrixes were more sadistic than he himself ever was (a totally invalid argument that has been completely debunked by us radical feminists – the sadistic domina is merely another patriarchal stereotype because men themselves like to fantasize about women having violent revenge on men, thus creating a female caricature in their own self-image). We have to remember here that under the patriarchy men always blame women for what men do to women. Men make movies where they tell women that they are sexy when they are a bit crazy. But when things get out of hand and someone actually dies, men blame women for being too crazy and hurting themselves. Men never stop to have a look at themselves and blame themselves for having brought up the worst in women by subjecting them to endless patriarchal brainwashing from the moment they were born. As a radical feminist myself I firmly believe it is impossible for women to be truly together and self-actualized individuals under a patriarchal hegemony that continuously reminds women they are less than, weaker than, dumber than, worth less than yet almost wholy dependent on men for their financial well-being and physical survivial. Any person growing up in such a toxic an environment designed to keep them down & remind them of their powerlessness in every imaginable way would go crazy eventually. If women are crazy it is because the sexist patriarchy is crazy making. You cannot expect anyone to be sane when they’ve been told every day of their lives that they are nothing more than disposable trash to the ones who really run this system, which under the patriarchy is men.

So we have to ask, what IF ANYTHING did Alexander ever do to prevent his old band mate from self-destructing on drugs? Did he ever check in on her to see how she was doing after they had already broken up the band? Alexander’s own comments on Facebook suggest otherwise:

Το υλικό του Praying for your Sins αποτυπώνει την καλύτερη περίοδο του συγκροτήματος.Τότε που ξυπνούσαμε και κοιμόμασταν παρέα.

Βλέπαμε ταινίες,ακούγαμε μουσικές και κρατούσαμε σημειώσεις με στίχους και φράσεις.

Εξελισσόμασταν μαζί σε κάτι που μας ήταν καινούργιο. Με το που ολοκληρώσαμε τις ηχογραφήσεις λίγο μετά τελείωσε και η συγκατοίκηση.

Απο εκεί και μετά το συγκρότημα συνεχίστηκε για άλλα 4 χρόνια όμως η όποια πρόοδος και εξέλιξη θα γίνοτανε πια στον καθένα ξεχώριστα και ποτέ μαζί.

I really have a hard time seeing someone dying at 30 as an εξέλιξη, much less as πρόοδος. So I wonder, did Alexander, having already had a self-destructive friend die on him once due to suicide, did he notice things were wrong with Mary, and did he ignore what he was seeing? Did he ever encourage his old band-mate to go into rehab? (Yes, I can hear you Athenian hipsters laugh at this question, and it’s exactly because you people laugh at someone asking this that she’s dead.) Did he offer to help her get her life back on track, either emotionally or financially? According to public documents in my possession the estimated total cost of Alexander’s film The Thread was about a quarter million euros to be receive from various public funding bodies in Greece. Did Alexander ever consider using a small portion of that money to get his old band-member into a program or to get her to see a shrink about her depression, anxiety and phobias? Alex must’ve heard the rumours of Mary being depressed, he must’ve read the stories online about Mary  literally passing out in the streets of Athens, he must´ve read the live music review which described Mary passing out after a Joalz concert. Had Alex ever seen her like that himself? Did he look away? Did he walk away? Did he ever offer a shoulder, a willing ear to his depressed former band-member? Did Alex ever reach out? Did he ever care to look at what he had left behind after he had broken up Mary and the Boy?

As a radical feminist I know that men use women, use them up and suck them dry, and then discard them when they are done and never look back at the human ruins they’ve left behind. And when that discarded woman kills herself, deliberately or accidentally as appeared to be the case here (though we must ask, why didn’t the damn paramedics immediately respond to her cries for help? Because that’s Greece during the GermanoDutch financial bankster DICKtatorship where ambulances only show up after you’re already dead), men are always quick to mansplain the death, which was really death-by-patriarchy, in a way that absolves them of any responsibility for what happened, especially if it was due to something they knew about and could’ve prevented but didn’t. Men, with immensely more wealth and power than women, nevetheless pretend they can do nothing for the women closest to them to shield them from the patriarchy eating away at a woman’s dignity and sense of self every day. The fact is not that they can’t but that they won’t. Men are happy with the way things are, having all these women at their disposal to use and discard with little to no consequences for themseves.

It’s very hard for me to write this entry because eventhough I had never met Mary and never could listen to Mary and the Boy for long because of how much I despise Alex and all he stands for, I respected Mary as a singer and as a performer. She was surely one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen with a very Greek severity that was completely lost when Lanthimos casted her as the little sister in Dogtooth (but then again the cinema is just another patriarchal vehicle in Greece, where men have to use movies to castrate women’s true beauty, either infantilizing them or otherwise compromising them cinematically). Mary was even once compared to Diamanda Galas in the way she sang:

Και φυσικά το Bobby Peru ένα κομμάτι που μιλάει για το σεξ με έναν περίεργο κυνισμό, χωρίς όμως να ξεφεύγει από τα κλισέ που βαραίνουν τέτοιους είδους τραγούδια, αλλά με τη Mary να δίνει ρεσιτάλ ερμηνείας και να θυμίζει κάτι από Diamanda Galás δημιουργώντας την εντύπωση πως τα ελληνικά σύνορα απλά περιορίζουν μια performer του δικού της βεληνεκούς. (source)

Having been bestowed that unworthy comparison myself I will now admit I sometimes wondered what our voices would sound like together since we had both been compared to Diamanda as “screamo” singers. I had read that Mary was a blues fan and into BB King like I am, and having heard some of her more blues-oriented music with her new band Joolz, I imagined us picking a blues song to cover together with me playing the guitar and singing backing vocals. That simple dream of mine has been killed along with Mary, and it was killed by sexist patriarchy encouraging women to think that being disturbed, being crazy, abusing drugs to dull the pain and being suidical is how you get noticed by men as a Tragic Sexy Muse or as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, categories and stereotypes invented and propagandized by men, when actually all of this is how you get fucked over by the patriarchy which awards and finances men like Alexander Voulgaris for doing the very things it routinely demonizes, condemns, rejects and even criminalizes women over. I am sad that Mary is dead but on the other hand I am glad she no longer has to experience this fucked up reality we live in where women are hated and actively suppressed just for being women. Being a woman under the patriarchy hurts, and for some women trying to maintain your sanity under a hegemony that actively hates you is crazy-making and oftentimes fatal.

Promo picture of actresses Geraldine Chaplin en Ana Torrent from the 1976 Spanish anti-fascist heritage film Cría Cuervos by Carlos Saura: “The film is an allegorical drama about an eight-year-old girl dealing with loss. (…) Ana takes refuge in the basement, where she keeps her ‘lethal’ powder, and where she is watched by an apparition of herself from twenty years in the future. The adult Ana, looking exactly as her mother, recounts her infancy: ‘I don’t believe in childhood paradise, or in innocence, or the natural goodness of children. I remember my childhood as a long period of time, interminable, sad, full of fear, fear of the unknown’. (…) Ana’s mother’s painful death from cancer; her father’s presumed murder, her guinea pig’s death and her own imagined suicide weigh on the girl’s mind. Ana even offers her grandmother, ill and using a wheelchair, the opportunity of dying and ridding herself from loneliness by providing her a spoonful of her poison. The old woman turns down Ana’s offer as the old woman realizes that the powder is simply baking soda.” (Listen man, μόνο στο τρελομυαλο σου γίνεται η πρέζα σόδα. Στο τρελομυαλο το δικό σου και άλλων κινηματογραφιστών. Μόνο αυτοί που φταίνε και το ξέρουν είναι γεμάτοι τύψεις.)

Resources:

On female self-destruction:

About the book, “Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction”

In a collection of original stories, essays, artwork, and photography, Nan Goldin, Eileen Myles, bell hooks, and other cutting-edge artists explore their use of art to survive madness, abuse, incest, depression, and the impulse toward self-destruction manifest in eating disorders, cutting, addiction, and contemplation of suicide. The book confronts the brutality many women and girls encounter in the world around them, and bravely takes as its subject the often misunderstood violence they at times inflict upon themselves.

The diverse array of contributors here—novelists, poets, cartoonists, dancers, photographers, playwrights, burlesque performers—traverse the pains and passions that can both motivate and destroy women artists and mark a path for survival. Together they show that creative women are not destined to the fate of lost visionaries such as Woolf, Sexton, Arbus, and Plath. Live Through This is a fearless exploration of women’s silent rage, the power that can come from internal struggle, and the possibility of transforming this burning force into fierce and enlightened work.

Live Through This Youtube video interviews with authors who contributed to the book:

https://www.youtube.com/user/theawesomestusername/videos

Sabina Chap – On Creativity and Self Destruction on TruthBrigade Radio, interview

09-11-2013 Creativity Trauma & Self Destruction – Sabrina Chap, interview

News articles consulted:

“Οι Mary and the Boy ήταν ένα συγκρότημα φτιαγμένο για να καεί. Αυτό που σκέφτομαι τώρα είναι ότι η πρώτη περίοδος με το demo ήταν η μοναδική καλή φάση μας, μέναμε μαζί, ήμασταν φίλοι. Μετά απ’ αυτό μπορεί να γίναμε καλύτεροι, ο καθένας μόνος του σε αυτό που κάνει συγκεκριμένα, αλλά δεν ήταν πια το ίδιο. Υπήρχε τόσο έντονη αντίδραση για μας απ’ τον κόσμο -θετική ή αρνητική- και η Mary κι εγώ είμαστε άτομα που δεν αντέχουμε την αποδοχή ή την απόρριψη. Μας βγήκε πολύ έντονη βία απέναντι σε όλους, νομίζω ότι θέλαμε να τρομάξουμε τον κόσμο, και αυτούς που τους άρεσε και αυτούς που δεν τους άρεσε. Ήταν μεγάλο κεφάλαιο για μένα, αλλά ίσως έπρεπε να είχε τελειώσει και πιο νωρίς”.

http://serotonine1.blogspot.gr/2014/07/the-boy.html

http://www.iefimerida.gr/news/337191/i-zoi-en-tafo-tis-mairis-tsoni#axzz4h9CG2C99

I want to highlight the following heartfelt comment posted underneath the above article:

Sotiris Kremos • μία μέρα πριν
Η Μαίρη Τσώνη δεν ζει πιά. Θυμώνω καθημερινά με όλους αυτούς τους επώνυμους, που από την ώρα που ανακοινώθηκε ο θάνατός της, βρήκαν τον τρόπο να έρθουν οι μούρες τους στη δημοσιότητα προβαίνοντας σε δηλώσεις γι αυτήν.

Ότι τάχα την αγαπούσαν, το πόσο ταλαντούχα ήτανε και διάφορα άλλα.

Το μόνο που θέλω να γράψω εδώ, είναι ότι όλι αυτοί, κάποτε ίσως να γνώρισαν το παιδί αυτό και το κάποτε ήτανε όταν έπαιξε στον Κυνόδοντα.

Ιδέα δεν είχαν το τι πέρναγε και το πως ζούσε. Και φυσικά καμία διάθεση δεν είχε κανείς τους να την βοηθήσει σε ότι και αν πέρναγε, σε έναν χώρο τόσο σκληρό, που όσο ταλέντο και αν έχεις μπορεί και να βρεθείς εκτός, γιατί δεν ανήκεις σε κάποια κλίκα.

Παρακαλώ λοιπόν, όλους αυτούς που συνεχίζουν και καπηλεύονται τον θανατό της, όποιοι και εάν είναι, είτε ηθιοποιοί, είτε έντυπα, είτε ηλεκτρονικές σελίδες, είτε κριτικοί κινηματογράφου, να την παρατήσουν ήσυχοι και να βγάλουν τον σκασμό.

Λυπάμαι γιατί κανείς από όλους αυτούς που μέρες τώρα δηλώνουν και γράφουν γι αυτήν, δεν την είχε δει ούτε της είχε μιλήσει τα τελευταία 7 χρόνια.
Να ναι ελαφρύ το χώμα που σε σκεπάζει.

http://www.newsbomb.gr/ellada/news/story/791432/mairi-tsoni-thriler-me-ta-aitia-thanatoy-tis-ithopoioy-poia-einai-ta-nea-stoixeia#ixzz4h9EZM8DU

http://www.enikos.gr/society/514469/afto-einai-to-spiti-opou-vrethike-nekri-i-mairi-tsoni-photo

http://www.fthis.gr/celebrity/news/mairh-tswnh-oi-prwtes-fwtografies-apo-thn-khdeia-ths

2013-2014 Facebook entries by Alexander Voulgaris referred to in this article:

1) 28 oktober 2013 LOU THREAD…. (no link, BU here)

2) https://www.facebook.com/boy.voulgaris/posts/10152700920420299?stream_ref=10 (BU here)

3) https://www.facebook.com/boy.voulgaris/posts/10152689218795299?stream_ref=10 (BU here)

4) 5 april 2014, no link, BU here

Alex also posted this, claiming it was “με διαφορά η πιο αστεία στιγμή στην ιστορία του συγκροτήματος.χαχα.”… did you know of all people vegan animal rights fanatic Moby was a Mary and the Boy fan?! I always wondered whether Moby’s grand animal rights propaganda plan to make vegan porn movies in association with PETA was the direct result of listening to Mary and the Boy ->

αλεξανδρος βουλγαρης

με διαφορά η πιο αστεία στιγμή στην ιστορία του συγκροτήματος.χαχα.

O Moby ακούει Mary And The Boy | Electronica | gr8 Free Press | Internet Radio
http://www.gr8media.gr
Το νέο του άλμπουμ ετοιμάζει ο Μοby
http://www.gr8media.gr/…/o-moby-akoyei-mary-and-the-boy…

NOTE: link now defunct, the same item was covered here as well –>
https://www.musiccorner.gr/%CF%84%CE%B9-%CE%B1%CE%BA%CE%BF%CF%8D%CE%B5%CE%B9-%CE%BF-moby-%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%B1-%CE%BD%CE%B1-%CE%B5%CE%BC%CF%80%CE%BD%CE%B5%CF%85%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B5%CE%AF-12905/

Let’s see: Alex is working on a movie about a communist mom and her relationship to her son, but both characters are performed by one and the same female actress, so if you take away the gender-confusion of a female performing a female and a male role, Alex’s movie might as well be a movie about mother-daughter relationships and how these are affected by Greek communism. The name of the mom in his movie is Νίκη/Nike which is the Greek word for “victory”, so the mother’s name is basically “Victoria”. Lo behold, today I discovered this Bulgarian 2014 indie film by female filmmaker Maya Vitkova called, oh yes, Виктория or”Viktoria” which she claims is a semi-autobiographical tale about  mother-daughter relationships set in the 1970s and early 1990s in Bulgaria under communist rule and after the fall of Soviet communism, which is the exact same time period that Alex’s upcoming film is set. COINCIDENCE?

Here is Maya Vitkova explaining her movie Виктория/Viktoria:

And here is what she said on IMDB (which makes her the only if not one of the few filmmakers ever to address their film viewers on IMDB in the comments):

Author: mayvitkovitz from Bulgaria
2 June 2015

The key situations in Viktoria are stories that happened in my own life, but the willingness to tell them is not an obsession for psychoanalysis or a self cure. The motive to write Viktoria links to the story Kurosawa tells at the very beginning of his autobiographical book. A healing frog in a box with mirror walls, frightened by its own reflection, starts secreting an oily secretion similar to sweat. They used to boil this sweat on a faint fire for days and that’s how produced a miraculous cure. According to Kurosawa, to write about yourself, is similar to being locked between four walls covered with mirrors and stare at yourself. And although you’re not a frog, you feel sweat streaming down your body… Storytelling is a mission, one of the few ways to change human lives. To write stories and turn them into films, which truly regenerate the humanity, the human spirit, you odd [ought?] to be honest. To lock yourself into the mirror box and examine you from top to toe, to tell a story of a moment in your life which somehow changed you, a story, that can thus help turning the lives of those who see it better. I do hope that the cure – the film – I prepared out of my „sweat”, will be healing for the people who use it for their „wounds”. That’s the reason I wrote Viktoria.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3400872/reviews?ref_=tt_urv

Wow, that sounds like a student of Jodorowsky’s brand of Psychomagic Psychobabble right there (doesn’t Alejandro always say he wants to make movies that heal?), but anyway, onwards to the movie itself class! Study this film-trailer for Виктория/Viktoria closely and diligently:

Synopsis
Dreaming of the West, Boryana is determined not to have a child in communist Bulgaria. Nonetheless, her daughter Viktoria enters the world in 1979, curiously missing a belly button, and is declared the country’s Baby of the Decade. Pampered by her mother state until the age of nine, Viktoria’s decade of notoriety comes crashing down with the rest of European communism. But can political collapse and the hardship of new times finally bring Viktoria and her reluctant mother closer together?

The film follows three generations of women in the final years of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the new government, focusing on reluctant mother Boryana and her daughter, Viktoria, who in one of the film’s surreal, magical touches is born without an umbilical cord. Though unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is named the country’s Baby of the Decade, and is showered with gifts and attention until the disintegration of the East Bloc. Despite throwing their worlds off balance, the resulting political changes also allow for the possibility of reconciliation.

You will see that there are several scenes here which in another context would have been pedophilic, such as an image of a baby’s bare bottom and another quick shot where a girl’s pair of underwear is cut off with scissors. I obviously haven’t seen the movie itself but everything about this trailer suggests that Maya Vitkova’s Виктория/Viktoria is a movie that touches on the subject of sexual child abuse under communism.

This surreal excerpt from the movie of a young girl dressed up like a mix between Kenny from the animation  Southpark and Little Red Riding Hood being pushed over by a gigantic hand, again suggests that Виктория/Viktoria is a movie about child abuse:

Then there is this excerpt of what appears to be a catholic priest or lawyer’s gown in a tub of water spreading a cloud of blood:

Another scene which suggests child abuse:

And this scene of a piano recital reminds me of those stories that Alex used to tell in interviews, where he said he was being paraded around like a trophy by the Greek communists after he and his sister joined the Greek Communist Youth organization at the ripe old age of 12, and Alex saying that he considers this experience of being paraded around by the communists in his youth “akin to child pornography”:


The communist context of the movie is made explicit in the following somewhat parodic  excerpt:

So, let’s take this from the top again:

1) Alex is making a movie where the mom character is called Νίκη/Nike or Victoria. Two years ago Vitkova already released a an indie movie called Виктория/Viktoria, which is the name of the daughter in her movie.

2) Alex’s mom character Νίκη is a communist, Виктория/Viktoria takes place during communist rule in Bulgaria with the mother and daughter being celebrated by the communist regime.

3) The time period of the events in Alex’s film is the 1970s and 1990s, Виктория/Viktoria likewise takes place in the 1970s and the early 1990s.

4) Виктория/Viktoria is about mother-daughter relationships, Alex’s movie is about mother-son relationships but the two main characters, the mother and the son, are both interpreted by a single female actress.

5) Alex is a pedophilia apologist; Виктория/Viktoria‘s trailer suggests that this movie touches on the subject of sexual child abuse under communism, with many scenes suggesting or depicting child abuse.

6) Alex said in interviews that being paraded around by the communists after joining the Greek Communist Youth organization as preteen was a very traumatic experience for him which felt “akin to child pornography”; Vitkova’s girlchild character Viktoria is paraded around by the communists in Bulgaria as the “Baby of the Decade”, in a movie that Vitkova claims is semi-autobiographical. Alex’s mom is a communist who still in public interviews will refer to other leftists in Greece as “comrades” and is a former card-carrying member of the Greek Communist Party. Vitkova claims that Виктория/Viktoria is about trying to restore her relationship to her mother after the fall of communism.

I’m sure Alex would say that he has never seen Виктория/Viktoria and that these similarities are all a big coincidence, but I have come across so many male artists ripping off lesser known female artists that I am extremely supicious. Obviously there are other films that depict mother-child relationships under communism or the post-communism transition period (the German film Goodbye Lenin would be a well-known example amongst my contemporaries), but the above similarities should raise an eyebrow.

The Feminist blacklist of Greek rape movies by male filmmakers (and a few female ones) is an ongoing feminist film criticism project by drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou. The creation of this list was prompted by the following interview with lesbian American actress Jodie Foster, wherein she condemns the use of rape as a plot device in American films:

 

She added, “It was ridiculous, it was every single movie I saw. If you really got to what was the overriding motivation that that woman that you found out at the end, it was always rape because for some reason men saw that as this incredibly dramatic thing. ‘Well that’s easy! I can just pluck that one out of the sky and apply it to her.’ ”

Foster said she believes the storyline persists because men have failed to create a “complex merging” with female characters. “They were unable to put themselves in her shoes and her body and say, ‘She was competitive with her mother’… They were unable to make that transition.”

Jodie Foster Slams Male Filmmakers for Relying on Rape as a Motivational Device for Female Characters
http://www.people.com/article/jodie-foster-slams-male-filmmakers-rape-motivation-female-characters

These comments by Jodie Foster in fact very accurately describes almost every indie Greek movie being praised by the Flix.gr online hegemony and the Voulgaris oikogeniocracy. I thus decided to assemble a list of male-made Greek movies that use rape as a lazy-assed plot device: Το μικρό ψάρι by Yannis Economidis, Μέχρι το πλοίο by Αλέξης Δαμιανός, Lost Girl by Nikos Pastras, Αν ήταν νόμιμος ο βιασμός (literally “If rape was legal” <– CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS FUCKING TITLE?!) by Alexandros Sipsidis, the list of Greek rape movies by men just goes on and on. Μέχρι το πλοίο (1966) by Αλέξης Δαμιανός this movie that many young Greek filmmakers have been brainwashed to think of as a sensitive Greek treatjerker and one of the greatest pieces in the Greek film canon, is actually a rather badly made rape movie. The scene where the woman is in the barn and the two men are pulling at her arms is a rape scene. The only reason you don’t see any body-parts is because they couldn’t show that back then. Anyone who does a close reading of that scene should be able to see it for what it is: simulated rape.

Just to be fair and to also to preempt any silly MRA kind of criticism, I will also assemble below the male filmmaker blacklist a list of Greek movies with rape scenes by female Greek filmmakers, so you can see for yourselves how completely different the rape scenes are when they are directed by women. Most recently we saw rape uncritically and sensationally being used as a plot device in the 2015 film Ursa Minor by Elissavet Chronopoulou, which surely a cinematic example of Stockholm Syndrome and how female Greek filmmakers adopt a male gaze because they don’t know better and haven’t got a clue about feminist film criticism. I know this for a fact because not a single female Greek filmmaker I have ever met has ever read any form of feminist film criticism.

In addition to the second list of females directing rape scenes, I also tried to to think of a single Greek movie where a man gets raped by men (like, say, the rape-scene in American History X where Edward Norton “picks up the soap” in prison) and I basically can’t think of one. I can honestly say I have never seen an adult Greek man get raped by another man in a Greek movie. The victims I see in Greek rape movies are always women. There a castration scene in the Hellenic Genocide drama feature 1922 by Nikos Koundouros where a Turkish lynch mob captres and cuts the balls off a Greek (all this in a Greek movie long before Hostel ever came out people!), but that movie by Koundouros doesn’t really count because it isn’t rape — in that movie too it’s Greek women who are getting raped by Turks. Singapore Sling, the Greek exploitation rape movie by Nikos Nikolaidis doesn’t count either because that’s supposedly a man who is being raped by women, who curiously never looks like he isn’t enjoying himself. I think it’s fair to say that despite its reputation of churning out edgy films, it’s abudantly clear from my list that homosexual rape amongst adult men is the ultimate cinematic taboo in a macho patriarchy such as the Greek culture. It reminds me of a quote I once read in an essay in the late Eve Sedgwick’s Tendencies book, where either she or the person she was interviewing said something to the effect that the image of a man on his back with his knees in the air and his rectum exposed is the ultimate cinematic taboo in American film and that showing this image to American audience would be akin to the Apocalypse, this being an image that, if shown to a mainstream audience, would signal the end as far as American culture is concerned. (But I have actually seen La Pudeur des Icebergs by Daniel Léveillé Danse performed live onstage in Amsterdam 10 years ago, so I beg to differ.) So, if you really want to be an edgy Greek filmmaker, stop making Greek rape movies and basically go and make a Greek “Πάρτι των Λεμονιών”. Perferably yet, stop making rape movies altogether. Having a movie literally titled Αν ήταν νόμιμος ο βιασμός, “If rape was legal”, is not very funny, mr Alexandros Sipsidis. I want this list to show how gross, disgusting and overtly sexist Greek cinema has become just as its becoming more well-known around the world than ever.

THE FEMINIST BLACKLIST OF GREEK RAPE MOVIES BY MALE GREEK FILMMAKERS:

Το μικρό ψάρι by Yannis Economidis

Lost Girl by Nikos Pastras

Αν ήταν νόμιμος ο βιασμός by Alexandros Sipsidis

1922 by Nikos Koundouros

Μέχρι το πλοίο, 1966, Αλέξης Δαμιανός
(rape scene in the barn at 17:50)

ΜΙΚΡΕΣ ΑΦΡΟΔΙΤΕΣ / Young Aphrodites (1963) Nikos Koundouros
(simulated rape scene of a 14 year old girl)

ΤΟ ΚΟΡΙΤΣΙ ΤΗΣ ΜΑΝΗΣ Πολ Ανέτ 1985
(rape scene at the end)

Singapore Sling: The Man Who Loved a Corpse 1990 Nikos Nikolaidis
(incest between adults, male rape, too many scenes to count)

Miss Violence, 2013, Alexandros Avranas
(Movie about incest, rape scene happens off screen but it’s still rape)

THE FEMINIST BLACKLIST OF GREEK RAPE MOVIES BY FEMALE GREEK FILMMAKERS:

Lullaby by Yianna Amerikanou, 2009

Ursa Minor by Elissavet Chronopoulou, 2015 <– This movie in particular is the perfect example of the way female Greek filmmakers have internalized the male gaze and the rape scene as a plot device because they’ve witnressed it times immemorial in Greek movies and have hence thus ended up reproducing sexist Greek stereotypes of women being masochistic victims who supposedly “crave” abuse and humiliation. As one critic of the movie commented: “Ποια κοπέλα θα έβλεπε έναν άνδρα να την ακολουθάει και να της λέει: «Δε θα σε αφήσω να φύγεις.» και εκείνη χωρίς κανέναν δισταγμό θα έμενε και σε λίγες ώρες αργότερα θα προθυμοποιούνταν να κάνει έρωτα μαζί του, χωρίς τη θέληση της, προκειμένου να τον πείσει να μείνει σπίτι της το βράδυ (δεδομένου μάλιστα ότι αρνείται την ερωτική επαφή στη συνέχεια μέσα σε μια σχέση πέντε μηνών με αυτόν τον άνδρα); Η δημιουργός αναφέρει ότι «Η ιστορία μιλάει για ένα κακοποιημένο κορίτσι, που ακριβώς επειδή έχει κακοποιηθεί, έλκει την κακοποίηση.» Δε φαίνεται πουθενά ο λόγος για τον οποίο αποδέχεται την κακοποίηση.”. Greek female filmmakers are thus neither encouraged or interested in subverting the expectation of rape and misogynist abuse in Greek movies. Female Greek filmmakers are merely ignorant reproducers of the rape convention. So completely have Greek female filmmakers internalized the rapist gaze of male Greek filmmakers that they can’t even conceive making a film from the perspective of the female and instead explicitly adopt a male gaze, since this gaze is all they know: “βρισκόμαστε στην οπτική γωνία του ήρωα και επομένως ξέρουμε μόνο όσα ξέρει κι εκείνος”. In Greece, even the women identify with the rapist at the expense of the female rape victim. The misogyny of Greek films is therefore a truly totalitarian and tautological manifestation of the rapist male gaze. Even the critic makes up excuses for the rapist, describing him using the inevitable perenial favourites amongst Greek rape apologist, “child-like” and “sensitive”: προβάλλεται ως ένας ευαίσθητος χαρακτήρας με μία εμφανή παιδικότητα, κατανόηση και μεγάλη θέληση για να βοηθήσει, να διορθώσει την ηρωίδα (ατάκα ήρωα: «Ήλπιζα να γίνεις κανονική.»). Yes, Greek film critics really do believe that rape and abuse are the result of “too much feeling” and even a “child-like innocence” on the part of the rapist,  rather than the result of a truly psychopathic lack of any feelings of empathy in a man. Let there be no mistake about it, no man ever imagines himself a child when he is raping a woman. This suggestion that rapists are brutalizing women because they are innocent children who cannot help themselves is one of the most dangerous mindfucks Greek women have suffered at the hands of a sexist patriarchal culture.

LIST OF GREEK MOVIES WHERE AN ADULT MAN GETS RAPED BY ANOTHER MAN:

Zero!

Δεν την φυλάει κανείς, uh-huh
Φοβούνται μην τους μείνει αδειο το κελί της
Μα όλο γελάει αυτή, uh-huh
Θέλει το πτώμα να βρουν
Και να παριστούν πως τάχα δεν μπορούν
Να την φανταστούν ωμή
Πως είναι μόνο κρέας αυτή
Και έτσι θα αρχίσει να χωράει
Μες την πληγή το μαχέρι

Έλα να δεις κι εσύ το μαύρο – η μάλλον κόκκινο – χάλι που έκανε ο Άλεξ την Σοφία Κόκκαλη στο νέο του music video. Η απόλυτη δηθενιά και αναισθησία να παριστάνει την συναισθηματικότητα. Χίλιες φορές προτιμότερα να έβλεπα την Κόκκαλη να την έδενε ο Vinny Winn Kyle με τις πορτοκαλι μπλούζες του όπως έλεγε ο Vinny στο βίντεο για την Μικρά Αγγλία 😀 Δεν ανέφερα καν που η ιδέα πίσω από αυτό το τραγούδι και βίντεο είναι 100% κλεμένη από το βίντεο και τους στίχους του Liar του Henry Rollins σε σκηνοθεσία του Ολλανδού Anton Corbijn, το βαμμένο κόκκινο πρόσωπο, τα γαλλία, οι στίχοι για την μοναξιά, οι γκριματσες, όλα πρωτοφανές, όλα κλεμμενα –>

And since we are on the topic, here is Alex’s mom the communist before a class of highschool students in Greece openly admitting to these kids that she lies during interviews:

12:54 Δεν μπορω να δωσω τις 50 συνεντεύξεις που μου ζητάνε, γιατί, ακόμα και τις 3 η 4 που δίνω πιάνω τον εαυτόν μου πολλές φορές και να επαναλαμβάνω, να κάνω νιάνιά τα ίδια και τα ίδια όταν είναι και ας πούμε και παροιμίες οι ερωτήσεις, και έχω πιάσει πολλές φορές τον εαυτόν μου να λέει ψέματα.

Translation: I cannot give the 50 interviews that are requested of me, because, even with the 3 or 4 interviews that I do give, I catch myself repeating, yapping the same old same things when the questions are the same, let’s say, and I’ve also many times caught myself lying.

Well, this is certainly refreshing for yours truly, to have a liar like Alex’s communist mom Ioanna Karystiani openly admit before a class of children and even openly on Youtube by extention that she lies during interviews, because most of the liars I profile here on the blog as rule will staunchly deny being liars and will instead accuse me of being a liar for painstakingly documenting and exposing their lies. How refreshing is this indeed! 😀 Maybe it’s a Greek thing because in my experience Americans are always shocked and offended to the core of their being when someone manages catches to them in a lie. I obviously wish people had it together enough that they didn’t have to lie at all, but if I had to choose then I think I  prefer the Greek approach of openly lying and openly admitting it and consider this to be more healthy than the aggressive American denialism I generally have to deal with. Why can’t Americans be more like Alex’s communist mom and just admit that they too will lie in public?

OK, boys and girls in filmschool, today I am going to show you how to instantly recognize a Certified Arrogant Indie Asshole™® of a filmmaker in the American indie film industry. After wasting everyone’s time, effort and money on tanked projects, these Certified Arrogant Indie Assholes ™® continue to talk about themselves in glowing terms, refusing to admit they were wrong, refusing to take responsibility for being irresponsible with investors’ money, while spewing self-inflating crap very similar to this:

“Indeed, Æon Flux ultimately made $25.9 million domestically and $52.3 million worldwide, a costly and embarrassing flop for Paramount.”

Kusama’s agents told her in a singsong, jokey tone that she was “in movie jail now.” It’s an industry term for the fate of filmmakers who helm a box office bomb, and the implication is that, eventually, you’ll be released from movie jail.

“It’s the sense that each movie represents some kind of finality, potentially, to their career, as opposed to the sense of you have hits, and you have misses. That’s called being an artist.”

“I know when I sit in these studio meetings — I’m not afraid to say this — I’m one of the smartest people they’ve ever met, and I’m certain it’s terrifying [for them],”

https://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/karyn-kusama-the-invitation-girlfight#.tkL66yJrR

GET OVER YOURSELF LADY! Also, someone please find me one interview where Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, Richard Linklater or any of the other men name-dropped in this article are claiming to be the smartest guy in the room like Karyn Kusuma does, bragging that their superior intelligence is scaring the studios. Arrogant statements like this make you sound like a self-absorbed asshole artiste, irrespective of sex. As for the ridiculous claim that male filmmakers supposedly get a free pass to fail over and over and waste investors’ millions  like Kusama did “because I am an artiste and I should be allowed to have misses, it’s called being an artist” (ON YOUR OWN DIME LADY!), tell that to Adam Rifkin who tanked with The Dark Backward and never made another feature movie again. Tell that to Samuel Bayer who tanked with the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot and never made another feature movie again. So no, this myth that men get a free pass to fail time and again in Hollywood just because they are male is a lie.

Now, with regards to Karyn Kusama’s tanked Aeon Flux project and the long shadow this epic #FAIL cast over the rest of her career, the author of this article ridiculously claims that “Zack Snyder went from making Legend of the Guardians ($140,073,390) and Sucker Punch ($89,792,502) to making Man of Steel ($668,045,518)”. Actually, Zack Snyder went from making 300 ($456,068,181) and Watchmen ($185,258,983), two successful comic book based movies, to making Man of Steel ($668,045,518). Even Zack Snyder’s most #failed project, Sucker Punch, made more money than any movie Kusama has ever made. The author of the article then goes on to write: “After David Fincher bombed with Alien 3, he made Seven.”… but Alien 3 didn’t bomb. Alien 3 made $159,814,498 with a 55 million dollar budget. Since when is making 3 times your budget considered a bomb? Not too bad for Fincher’s first feature movie. Something tells me the author of this article is just blindly repeating bullshit examples that Kusama fed him during the interview without fact-checking whether any of these claims are true. Serenity didn’t bomb, it was a close call, as was Zathura. The Frighteners wasn’t Peter Jackson’s first big movie, that was King Kong, and he had already made Heavenly Creatures before that, and the fact is that The Frighteners managed to earn back its money. Literally the only example in this list that bombed hard the way Kusama’s Aeon Flux did was Apt Pupil. How dare she compare herself to male filmmakers who did way better on their projects than she did on hers.

Now let’s look at what actually happened with the Aeon Flux #FAIL. Kusama, then a 30something newbie with no sci-fic experience, seemingly out of the blue was given a XL-sized million dollar film despite having no prior experience whatsoever with a multi-million project or with a project involving a super-hero character associated with an existing media product. Why give such a huge project to a newbie like her and not another more experienced filmmaker? Am I the only one who sees the gaping hole in this story? Something tells me that the studio went shopping around for a director and all the others they had approached (probably all men and more experienced filmmakers) had turned Aeon Flux down. Why would these other filmmakers turn it down? Because the screenplay was lousy. Peter Chung, the maker of the Aeon Flux cartoon, has stated that he had a bad feeling about the movie after reading the screenplay. Everyone who is serious about filmmaking knows that you can’t make a good movie out of a lousy screenplay, period. Kusama can complain all she wants about the studio cutting 30 minutes out of her movie, but something tells me everyone but Kusama, the self-declared smartest girl in the room, had already recognized that Aeon Flux was a kiss-of-death project. Gee, maybe the self-declared smartest girl should’ve taken a hint from all these male filmmakers instead of seeing dollars&stars? If I was a newbie filmmaker and I was handed a huge-ass sci-fi project that everyone around me was turning down, all my alarm-bells would be going off.

And to add insult to injury, Kusama ends up falling in love with one of the two MALE screenwriters who wrote the lousy Aeon Flux screenplay that Peter Chung said was bad news from the moment he first read it and made him feel “humiliated” when he saw the end result on screen. Quoting from an IMDB review of Aeon Flux: “The only possible conclusion is that the real writer for this movie was a high school kid, and that he wrote it the day before it was due to the studio execs, and he’s never seen an entire Aeon Flux all the way through. The overwhelming amount of inconsistency with the cartoon is baffling.”. Everyone who has ever been to LA knows that losers of a tailfeather in the Los Angeles indie film industry tend to flock together.

So no, I’m totally not buying this “Hollywood’s sexism crushed this visionary female filmmaker” narrative. Don’t go around blaming sexism when you are too arrogant to admit you foolishly took on a project that everyone else (with a dick?) wisely foresaw was a kiss-of-death project because of the screenplay.

What is the moral of this Karyn Kusawa Aeon Flux #FAIL story, boys and girls?

1) You can’t make a good movie out of a bad screenplay. PERIOD. When the screenplay stinks, just say no. Don’t marry the screenwriter.

2) Avoid anyone who claims they have a right to waste investors’ money because “I am an artiste and I have a right to fail, it’s called being an artist“. No, that’s actually called being irresponsible with investor’s moneys. A big commercial movie with a multi-million dollar budget is a profit-making business venture. Not art. You can make art and fail hard on your own dime.

3) Avoid anyone who claims they are the smartest boy/girl in the room like Karyn Kusama does in the above interview. Always be humble and remember you can learn from people who will never know as much as you. Being arrogant and self-important in the aftermath of failure is not feminism or assertiveness. It’s called being delusional.

4) Yes, there is sexism in Hollywood, but that has as much to do with the audiences as it does with those who hold the purse-strings. Read this list of TV shows that failed in 2014-2015, and you will see that several of these failed shows were trying to be a form of diversity programming. The undeniable fact is that diversity-projects tend to flop despite the best of intentions because of audiences themselves not wanting to change their viewing-habits. It’s OK to admit this. All it means audiences have to become more progressive along with Hollywood.

5) If you are a filmmaking newbie and aspirant and one day Hollywood approaches you of the blue, inviting you to helm a huge sci-fi project that all the older and more experienced male filmmakers they had approached before you have already turned down… wipe the stars and the green from your eyes and just say no. Learn to recognize a kiss-of-death project. (see #1)

6) NO, male filmmakers do NOT get a free pass to fail over and over again and waste investors’ money just because they are men. That is a myth.

7) Weaponized Femininity is not feminism

I basically refuse to use the term “Greek weird cinema”. The term “Greek weird cinema” is used only by ignorant American indie filmmakers in Austin, Texas with a Richard Linklater connection who have only seen Dogtooth and Attenberg and have basically never seen another Greek movie in their lives. What these ignorant Americans refer to as “Greek weird cinema” is just a subset of movies that emerged out of the Athenian Filmmakers in the Fog movement from seven years ago. Consequently, I myself refer to these contemporary Greek movies by Athenians as FOG movies, and I call the filmmakers themselves a bunch Foggers. I will describe a Greek movie as “foggy” when it has that typically sexist, misogynist, austere, aloof, autistic and nonchalant look that I consider to be typical of those young Athenian filmmakers involved with FOG. Lathimos is FOG. Athena Rachel Tsangari is FOG. Alexander is FOG. Miss Violence is FOG. The Boy Eats The Bird’s Food is FOG. Wasted Youth is FOG. Tungsten looks like FOG but is actually more of a traditional Greek narrative movie, which can only mean one thing: even Greek filmmakers who are making traditional narrative films have been infected by the FOG bug, making it harder for ignorant Americans and other ignoramuses outside of Greece to determine whether they are watching a FOG movie or a regular Greek movie. Generally as a rule of thumb, if Europeans and Americans like it and Greeks hate it’s a FOG movie. If Americans and Europeans think they get it and Greeks are wondering what the hell they just saw, it’s FOG. The Lobster is an example of a Greek filmmaker making a FOG movie with Americans in English (and Americans assuming that a Greek movie with Americans must be a comedy and ridiculously marketing the movie as such), but it’s still technically FOG because it still has that stark aloof foggy look (which is why that American trailer is so ridiculous   compared to the way the movie has already been marketed in Europe). Just as g-rap doesn’t stop being g-rap when it’s in another language, likewise FOG doesn’t stop being foggy just because the actors speak English. When Americans buy a Lanthimos film, they are buying a a film with specific arthouse look that appeals to American film nerds. That look that Americans want to buy is the FOG look.

Filmmakers in the Fog retrospective – how do FOGgers talk about the FOG initiative 7 years after the fact? In this Al Jazeera article FOG is basically nothing more than a publicity stunt that helped launch the international careers of a bunch of Foggers, while doing absolutely nothing to change things for domestic Greek filmmakers:

That defiance came to a head in 2009, when dozens of actors, directors and producers boycotted the 50th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, the country’s longest-running and most prestigious festival. Calling themselves “Filmmakers in the Mist” — a riff on the endangered apes of “Gorillas in the Mist” — the group lashed out at the government’s slow-moving efforts to overhaul film legislation. They urged officials to introduce financial incentives for local producers, enforce a legal mandate stipulating that TV stations invest 1.5 percent of their annual net revenue in new film productions, and end the political meddling that was hampering industry growth.

A year after Lanthimos’ Oscar nomination for “Dogtooth,” four Greek films appeared at the Venice International Film Festival, including Tzoumerkas’ feature debut, “Homeland,” and Athina Rachel Tsangari’s “Attenberg,” which mimed a naturalist documentary style to explore the awkward coming-of-age of its 23-year-old heroine. Two years later, Alexandros Arvanas won Venice’s prestigious Silver Lion for “Miss Violence,” a dark tale of abuse and denial set in a claustrophobic Athens apartment. Today, from Rotterdam to Berlin to Cannes, Greek directors regularly appear at the most prestigious festivals in the world.

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/12/12/greek-cinema-rises-from-the-ruins.html

 

Whereas FOG is misrepresented as a Greek youth movement of sorts concerning young film school graduates at the start of their film careers, many Foggers were actually mature filmmakers of age. Here is what one of the older Foggers had to say about his FOG experience: “We went sailing in a boat with torn sails.”

 

Η ιστορία με τους Κινηματογραφιστές στην Ομίχλη που βρίσκεται; Έχει προχωρήσει;

Η Ομίχλη έχει παγώσει με το βήμα μετέωρο από τη στιγμή που έγινε το καινούργιο νομοσχέδιο. Το μεγάλο θέμα όταν ξεκινήσαμε ήταν να καταργηθεί ο προηγούμενος νόμος, να αλλάξουνε οι όροι χρηματοδότησης, να περάσει το tax shelter. Λίγο-πολύ γίναν αυτά. Κάποια γίναν και με πολύ καλά αποτελέσματα. Και μετά ενέσκηψε η κρίση όπου όλα αυτά κατέληξαν ένα κομμάτι χαρτί. Γιατί άνθρωποι δεν υπάρχουν να εκμεταλλευτούνε τις φορολογικές διευκολύνσεις και να επενδύσουνε στην ταινία σου όπως προβλέπει ο νόμος, το Κέντρο Κινηματογράφου έχει λαμβάνειν επιστροφές φόρου 4,5 εκατομμυρίων από το ΦΠΑ, έχει να πάρει και τις τακτικές του επιχορηγήσεις (που δεν τις παίρνει). Είμαστε όλοι σε μια βάρκα με σχισμένα πανιά. Φτιάξαμε τη βάρκα αλλά ξαφνικά χάλασε τόσο πολύ ο καιρός που γίνανε όλα μαντάρα.

http://www.mic.gr/interview.asp?id=38617

 

The following assessment of FOG is even more disillusioned and damning: “FOG dissolved into the fog, the name was thus not entirely coincidental.”

 

Πριν από 7 χρόνια δημιουργήθηκε μία ένωση δημιουργών, οι κινηματογραφιστές στην ομίχλη. Τελικά απέδωσε, βοήθησε εκείνη η κίνηση; Ποια πιστεύεις ότι ήταν τα αρνητικά και τα θετικά της;

Πριν από 7 χρόνια ένας υπουργός πολιτισμού από το παράθυρο, θέλοντας να ‘ναι αρεστός εφ’ όσον προετοιμαζόταν για αρχηγός, είχε συμφωνήσει με τα σωματεία να περάσει ένα νόμο, όπως εκείνα θα επεξεργάζονταν, γιατί ο νόμος Γαβρά «έμπαζε από παντού».

Τελείωνε αυτή η διαδικασία και ο Σαμαράς θα τον περνούσε, όπως έλεγε – γιατί δεν πρέπει ποτέ να δίνεις σοβαρή βάση στα λεγόμενα των πολιτικών, που κατά κανόνα εννοούν ακριβώς το αντίθετο απ ο,τι λένε – στο θερινό τμήμα της Βουλής όταν, αίφνης, σκάει ένας πανικός που ονομάζεται «ομίχλη» και απαιτεί να ισχύσει επί τόπου ο νόμος Γαβρά, που απαιτούσε, ας πούμε ένα απλό, για να εισαχθείς στη σχολή κινηματογράφου (Ακαδημία την ονόμαζε) να έχεις κάνει ταινία μικρού μήκους σε συμπαραγωγή με το Κέντρο!

Είμαι βέβαιος ότι ο καθ’ όλα σεβαστός κύριος Γαβράς, δεν είχε διαβάσει που έβαζε την υπογραφή του. Και αντί να αξιώσει ο χώρος αυτά που τον καίνε, φρόντισε με αυτή την κίνηση, που προβλήθηκε αρκούντως από τα μέσα, να εγκαθιδρυθεί η διχόνοια. Το απλούστερο των έργων της: Πριν την ομίχλη, υπήρχαν Κρατικά Βραβεία Κινηματογράφου – ένα σημαντικό στήριγμα να αντιμετωπίσεις τα χρέη που άφησε η ολοκλήρωση της ταινίας.

Με αφορμή την Ομίχλη, ο νέος υπουργός φρόντισε στα πλαίσια των περικοπών που έπρεπε να παρουσιάσει το υπουργείο του, να συμπεριλάβει τα Κρατικά Βραβεία, τα οποία ουδέποτε δόθηκαν ξανά, χωρίς καμία εξήγηση.

Ο Κινηματογράφος απουσιάζει από τα «εκλεκτά» του κράτους έκτοτε. Έχουμε βραβεία Θεάτρου, Λογοτεχνίας, Μουσικής, ο Κινηματογράφος έλαχε να βοηθήσει το οικονομικό σουλούπωμα της ασχετοσύνης ενος υπουργού, για την ακρίβεια, επιστέγασμα των υπουργών που διαχρονικά επωμίζονταν το πάρεργο του πολιτισμού.

Το όνομα αυτού του υπουργού θα ‘χε ήδη ξεχασθεί, αν δεν υπήρχε ο πάππους του. Το φτωχό του έργο στο υπουργείο, τα δυο χρόνια που ‘παιξε, σαν παιδάκι κι αυτός, συνοψίζεται στην κατάργηση των Κρατικών Βραβείων και τον περιορισμό της κρατικής μέριμνας για τον κινηματογράφο, στην παρέα του κέντρου οριστικά. Εύγε του. Επί τη ευκαιρία, πως είπαμε ότι τον έλεγαν αυτόν τον υπουργό;

Έκτοτε, για να επανέλθουμε, η ομίχλη δεν έδωσε σημεία ζωής. Ενταφίασε και χάθηκε στην ομίχλη, δεν ήταν καθόλου τυχαία διαλεγμένη η ονομασία τους.

http://www.cinemag.gr/article.asp?catid=38364&subid=2&pubid=130309650

And this is an example of critical piece about FOG from when it was still active that rings even more true today (as for the Academy mentioned later in the article that essentially has replaced the Κρατικά Βραβεία Ποιότητας, I have already written about the Academy here):

πολλά έγιναν στον κινηματογραφικό χώρο. Το κυριότερο είναι πως έσκασε μύτη το νεοπαγές μόρφωμα των «Κινηματογραφιστών στην Ομίχλη».

Πριν συνεχίσω, θα ’θελα να διευκρινίσω πως οι όποιες σκέψεις κι επισημάνσεις που ακολουθούν δεν έχουν καθόλου να κάνουν με το καλλιτεχνικό έργο όσων προσδιορίζονται ως «Κινηματογραφιστές στην Ομίχλη», αλλά με τη δράση τους.

Υπενθυμίζω σύντομα: Λίγες μέρες πριν το περυσινό Φεστιβάλ, μια ομάδα σκηνοθετών αρνήθηκε να υποβάλει τις ταινίες για βράβευση στα ετήσια Κρατικά Βραβεία Ποιότητας, θεωρώντας τα άκρως διαβλητά. Η άρνηση αυτή πήρε γρήγορα μεγάλες διαστάσεις και σε λίγες μέρες άλλαξε στόχευση. Δεν ήταν πια το «διαβλητό» της επιτροπής που ενοχλούσε, αλλά το ότι δεν είχε ψηφιστεί ακόμη ο νέος νόμος για τον κινηματογράφο. Το ότι η κυβέρνηση ήταν πολύ πρόσφατη και ο Υπουργός Πολιτισμού δεν προλάβαινε εκ των πραγμάτων να ’χει μελετήσει τα δύο προσχέδια που υπήρχαν στο συρτάρι του προκατόχου του δεν απασχόλησε καθόλου αυτούς τους σκηνοθέτες. Έτσι, με το «καλημέρα σας», οι νεόκοποι τότε «Κινηματογραφιστές στην Ομίχλη» πέτυχαν ν’ αποδυναμώσουν το 50ό Φεστιβάλ –και κυρίως το Πανόραμα Ελληνικών Ταινιών– και να στείλουν στις ελληνικές καλένδες τα Κρατικά Βραβεία Ποιότητας, που κάθε χρόνο έδιναν μιαν ανάσα σε τόσους ηθοποιούς και τεχνικούς. Ανάσα καλλιτεχνικής επιβράβευσης αλλά και οικονομικής στήριξης. Το ότι για όλα τούτα –και πολλά άλλα– το νέο αυτό ρεύμα δεν παρασκοτίστηκε, πολλοί το χρέωσαν στην ορμητικότητα του καινούριου. Την εκκωφαντική όμως σιωπή του Υπουργείου και του Ελληνικού Κέντρου Κινηματογράφου δεν νοιάστηκε κανείς, τότε, να την ερμηνεύσει.

Παρ’ όλ’ αυτά, οι «Κινηματογραφιστές στην Ομίχλη» γιγαντώθηκαν μ’ εντυπωσιακό ρυθμό. Γι’ αυτόν το λόγο, ό,τι πέρυσι θα μπορούσε να θεωρηθεί «νεανικό» παράπτωμα, φέτο δεν μπορεί ν’ αντιμετωπιστεί ελαφρά τη καρδία. Οι ενστάσεις μου πολλές. Κατ’ αρχήν για την επίθεση σε κάθε μορφή συνδικαλιστικής εκπροσώπησης. Έφτασε πέρυσι να ζητάει γνωστή σκηνοθέτρια απ’ τον Υπουργό να τους δεχτεί όχι σαν ομάδα ούτε ως συνδικαλιστές, αλλά ως ανθρώπους. Μπορεί βέβαια η Εταιρεία Ελλήνων Σκηνοθετών να μην είναι πια του γούστου τους. Οι σκηνοθέτες όμως την έφτιαξαν, αυτοί ας την αλλάξουν. Έτσι ορμητικοί και πολυπληθείς που είναι, με μια μαζική τους συμμετοχή στη γενική συνέλευση μπορούν να σαρώσουν όλο το «κατεστημένο». Πώς λοιπόν να μην κάνουμε και δεύτερες σκέψεις; Πώς να μη συνδέσω αυτή τη στάση με την κυρίαρχη σήμερα απαξίωση των συλλογικών εκπροσωπήσεων μέχρι την κατάργηση των συλλογικών συμβάσεων εργασίας; Δεν είναι λίγο περίεργο που «πρωτοπορεί» η κινηματογραφική πρωτοπορία σ’ όλα τα «πρωτοποριακά» μέτρα του ΔΝΤ και της «σοσιαλιστικής» μας κυβέρνησης; Πώς να μη σκεφτώ πως η περυσινή παράλειψη του Υπουργείου να απονείμει τα Κρατικά Βραβεία Ποιότητας, μιας κι οι περισσότεροι δε θα τα ’παιρναν, ήταν το πρώτο πάτημα για να καταργηθούν πλήρως στον καινούριο νόμο;

https://enthemata.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/nikpolitis/

 

Here is Alexander complaining about his FOG friend Yorgos Lanthimos bugging out of Greece in search of greener pastures in Hollywood (yeah, OK, so he didn’t actually move to Hollywood, SFW, everyone knows the reason he stayed in London is to make that film about Queen Anne):

Ένα από τα κινηματογραφικά εγκλήματα της κρίσης στην Ελλάδα είναι ότι η πολιτεία (συμπεριλαμβάνονται εδώ το κράτος, το κοινό και ο ίδιος ο κινηματογραφικός κόσμος) δεν κατάφεραν να κρατήσουν τον Λάνθιμο εδώ. Αντιθέτως σχεδόν τον έδιωξαν με αλλεπάλληλα δημοσιεύματα περί σεναριακών κλοπιμαίων, αρνητικές θεατρικές κριτικές που βγάζαν μάτι σκατοψυχίας, έλλειψη βασικής χρηματοδότησης και συνεχές παράπονο περί αρρωστημένης τέχνης που δεν έχει σχέση με την Ελλάδα και που δεν είναι έτσι η Ελλάδα λες και η Ισπανία ήταν όπως τη δείχνει ο Ανδαλουσιανός Σκύλος ή η Γαλλία ήταν όπως τη δείχνει το Με κομμένη την Ανάσα. Ο Λάνθιμος λοιπόν έφυγε και τον χάσαμε και ακολουθούν και άλλοι κατα πως φαίνεται.

http://cinefreaks.gr/2015/10/o-alexandros-voulgaris-ta-lei-orea-gia-to-elliniko-weird-sinema-ke-ton-giorgo-lanthimo/

I will also posit that Alexander has projected his relationship with Lanthimos into the Weird American Cinema (ha!) 1991 movie The Dark Backward, while failing to disclose the fact that The Dark Backward borrows heavily from a 1989 British Weird Cinema (haha!) movie How To Get Ahead in Advertising (recall here that Lanthimos started out in advertising before be became an indie filmmaker!) but that’s another blog entry. In answer to Alexander’s above comments about Greeks supposedly chasing Lanthimos out of Greece (Alexander dramatically makes them sound like a crazed lynch mob, when nothing of the sort ever happened; Greeks basically avoided FOG movies including those of Lanthimos because these were just too aloof and austere to appeal to Greek tastes), I will quote from the following blog entry, which perfectly explains everything that is wrong with FOG movies from a Greek perspective:

Αναρωτιέμαι γιατί οι σκηνοθέτες μας να μήν μπορούν να περιγράψουν τη σημερινή Ελλάδα; Πού πάνε και τα βρίσκουν αυτά τα τραβηγμένα από τα μαλλιά σενάρια; Κι όμως πολλοί παλαιότεροι  έλληνες σκηνοθέτες περιέγραψαν σωστά την Ελλάδα της εποχής τους,  όπως π.χ. ο Μιχάλης Κακογιάννης με τις ταινίες του Το κυριακάτικο ξύπνημα (1954), Η Στέλλα (1955), Το κορίτσι με τα μαύρα (1956) η Το τελευταίο  ψέμα (1958)   και  ο Κώστας Μανουσάκης με την ταινία του Ο φόβος (1966). Ωστόσο ακόμα και κάποιοι ξένοι το κατάφεραν, όπως π.χ. ο Ζυλ Ντασέν με τις ταινίες του Φαίδρα (1962) και Κραυγή γυναικών (1978)  ή ο Τζόναθαν Νόσιτερ με την ταινία του Σημεία και θαύματα (2000). Πώς να συμβεί αυτό με τούς ημεδαπούς σκηνοθέτες όταν δεν βρίσκουν καν ελληνικούς τίτλους για τα έργα τους. Without λεγόταν η πρώτη  ταινία του Αλ. Αβρανά, που έλαβε μάλιστα το κρατικό βραβείο στο Φεστιβάλ Κινηματογράφου, και Miss Violence η δεύτερη.   Attenberg  ήταν ο τίτλος μιας ταινίας της Αθ. Τσαγγάρη, To the Wolf η ταινία των Α. Huges-Χρ. Κουτσοσπύρου, September η ταινία  της Πέννυς  Παναγιωτοπούλου –φαίνεται πως ο τίτλος Σεπτέμβρης τής πέφτει μπανάλ- Luton  η ταινία του Μιχάλη Κωνσταντίνου και Wild Duck η ταινία του Γιάννη  Σακαρίδη. Τέτοια ξενομανία έχει καταλάβει πιά τους κινηματογραφιστές μας; Αναρωτιέμαι πώς μπορούν οι γιαγιάδες τους να διαβάζουν τους ξενόγλωσσους αυτούς τίτλους.  Πώς να μην αποφεύγει τα έργα τους το ελληνικό κοινό, όταν κι εκείνοι δεν το σέβονται;

http://ngradio.gr/keimena/kinimatografistes-stin-omixli/

 

All that remains in the end is just a Youtube channel with a bunch of trailers:

https://www.youtube.com/user/fogwebtv/videos

See also:

http://www.sbs.com.au/movies/article/2015/07/17/greek-crisis-spotlight-upcoming-films

http://neoskosmos.com/news/en/Creativity-flourishes-despite-troubled-times

 

 

I was debating someone who lectured me that “Lanthimos isn’t a commercial filmmaker”… yeah, that’s why his next film is gonna be a British court costume drama with Kate Winslet… or was it Rachel Weisz? 😉 Greeks are seriously out of the loop in my experience. They think art house films aren’t commercial films, which is ridiculous because according to the latest No Filmschool podcast on the topic of American indie film distribution, the Yankee indie film industry is doing better than ever before,  with 90% of filmmakers at SXSW having a distribution deal as opposed to only 30% from just 5 years ago. It should be abundantly obvious that Lanthimos has always been oriented towards a commercial film career and that he wants to make big expensive films with famous actresses and elbatorate costumes, and iconic castle-sized locations and all that royal classist elitist feudalist bullshit. Lanthimos, he clearly wants to make the next Elizabeth. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is called a commercial filmmaker because costume dramas are expensive films, not the cheapass Dogma 1995-esque chamber pieces that Lanthimos became famous with. Those were bourne out of desperate necessity. Now that Lanthimos has tasted success and is allowed to dream freely, his dreams plainly show what his private fascinations are made of: the courtly megalomania and royal melodrama of princes and princesses. That’s who your beloved “radical” indie filmmaker really is in heart of hearts, boys and girls in filmschool: een hermelijn-aanbidder*.

queenanneofgreatbritain

Queen Anne posing with an ermine edged royal cape.

* Pejorative term used to describe the Dutch royalists by Dutch republicans who, inspired by the 1775 American Revolutionary War of Independence against the British, wanted to abolish the Dutch royalty. This term is still used to this day to describe people who have a fetishistic fascination with the Dutch royal house. Ermine fur is the type of fur used to decorate royal capes and robes — but you never hear a squeak from vegans and animal rights vegans about royalties having massive amounts of ermines culled just for them to wear such silly things, geez, I wonder why that is. By describing the royalists as “worshippers of the ermine”, the Dutch republicans alluded to the fact that the royalists were expressing and demanding loyalty to an indifferent court whose members were only using the royalists for the sake of promoting the court’s populist appeal, and would eventually skin them alive and use them up like ermines on a fur collar once they were done with them. There is a Dutch connection to the film that Lanthimos is going to shoot too because Anne’s Dutch Protestant brother-in-law and cousin was William the 3rd, Prince of Orange. “King Billy” is the man who implemented and cemented the concept of divide-and-conquer in British politics by creating a two-party Parliament with Whigs and Tories bickering amongst themselves to protect his own Protestant oikogeniocracy from being abolished by Catholics. It is important here to recall that in Western Europe Catholicism was mainly the religion of the poor masses, whereas the new Xian branch of Protestantism was the religion of the propertied middle class. Anne was Anglican, an English branch of Protestantism and was politically a Torie.  However, the character of “King Billy” would explain why the Dutch Film Fund has developed such an other inexplainable interest in Lanthimos, a Greek filmmaker with no Dutch connection whatsoever. The alleged lesbian relationship between Queen Anne and Baroness Abigail would also greatly arouse Dutch sentiments; why else would the Dutch take an interest in a movie about a British royal woman who even on Wikipedia is described as “very ignorant, very fearful, with very little judgement, it is easy to be seen she might mean well, being surrounded with so many artful people, who at last compassed their designs to her dishonour”, and as “fat, constantly pregnant, under the influence of favourites, and lacking political astuteness”? There is literally no reason for the Dutch to take an interest in such a costume drama of a biopic other than the fact that a powerful Dutch royal was involved in this woman’s autobiography, as well as the prospect of hot lesbian scenes between Olivia Colman and Emma Stone. Who wouldn’t pay to watch ignorant women get fucked and give birth to dead children 17 times for the duration of a two hour movie? I am expressing myself in such pedestrial terms only to stress and underline how fundamentally unpalatable this usage of women as “the original 3D printers” of heirs by the royal houses of Western Europe must appear to the contemporary democratic republican cinephile for whom such a usage of womankind is surely repugnant. This paradoxical combination of disgust and fascination no doubt explains the sheer popularity of costume dramas about the lives of royalty. Who doesn’t want to witness the cinematic spectacle a female royal member in the 18th century semper eadem giving birth to yet another corpse of a stillborn like semper eadem a fattened cow at a barn? If this movie ever comes out, feminist film criticsm will be all over it. As for this scene from the Queen Anne biography:

“On Maundy Thursday 6 April 1710, Anne and Sarah saw each other for the last time. According to Sarah, the Queen was taciturn and formal, repeating the same phrases—”Whatever you have to say you may put in writing” and “You said you desired no answer, and I shall give you none”—over and over”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne,_Queen_of_Great_Britain

Something tells me that Lanthimos might even fancy himself a Martin Scorsese and might even be planning to appropriate the famous scene from Age of Innocence! Basically, take the following scene, replace Valmont with Queen Anne, replace every utterance of “It’s beyond my control” with “Whatever you have to say you may put in writing”, and you basically have yourself a wonderful pitch for The Favourite! 😀

BTW, can John Malkovich do a Dutch accent for King Bill or he still too pricy and beyond Lanthimos’ budget? 😀

 

Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s The Scarapist

trailer analysis and debunking of Berlinale award claims
by drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou
(cc) 2016 creative commons (attribution only, spread far and wide!)

Part 1: How to spot an American indie film poseur claiming false laurels or awards on the internet

Berlinale responds to false award claims by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza of The Scarapist

Berlinale responds over e-mail to false award claims by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, confirms her film The Scarapist was never awarded at their film festival

The American Indie Film Industry’s Punks – how indie film wannabes in America try to deceive the general film viewing public as well as potential future investors and sponsors by falsely claiming non-existing awards for their films, thus inflating the artistic and commercial merits of their films.

Alright boys and girls in film school, today I am going to show you what an American film industry poseur and wannabe looks like and how they operate to deceive the public and investors. I am sharing this information to help you determine whether someone in the film industry is trustworthy. I have seen many people get ripped off in the American indie film industry, and want to prevent that from happening to any of you. Here’s what to watch out for.

One of the way that desperate wannabes and poseurs try to sell their ass in the cut-throat American film industry is by claiming fake laurels. Basically, by claiming fake awards they have never received from organizations that don’t even exist. Laurels are those little laurel-branches that you oftentimes see printed on the packaging of DVDs, Blurays or film posters. These laurels either represent the festivals the film was screened at, or the awards the film has received. You’d be shocked to discover how many industry poseurs are claiming fake laurels for their films and are able to get away with it because of a lack of fact-checking. Using the popular and actually awarded American movie of The Revenant I will first show you what real, genuine laurels look like on Facebook:

As you can see, real laurels are indistinguishable from fake laurels. Anyone could Photoshop themselves a pair of fake laurels, put them in their trailer or on their online film-banner on Facebook or Twitter and claim themselves to be an award winner. Laurels on the internet are no indication of a real award. This is why you must fact-check any award  claims you see online! We know that The Revenant’s laurels are real because we saw actor Leonardo diCaprio receiving an Oscar on mainstream TV and other reputable media. We can also fact-check this using the Oscars’ official website where they post a list of the winners: http://oscar.go.com/news/winners/oscar-winners-2016-see-the-complete-list

Now that you’ve learned how to fact-check real and genuine laurels, I will show you what it looks like when an indie film industry poseur and wannabe claims fake laurels to inflate interest for their film in an effort to deceive the film viewing public and potentional future investors and sponsors about their artistic and commercial merit.

An American indie thriller film called _The Scarapist_ by the female American filmmaker Jeanne Marie Spicuzza recently posted messages in the social media claiming to have been awarded at the Berlinale Film Festival, the biggest film festival in Europe after Cannes. Many of the documentary films that ended up being screened at the festival I was volunteering at as a post-grad were first screened at Berlinale. Berlinale is basically the tastemaker for all the other film festivals around Europe.

“The Scarapist”, released in the US in 2015 (or 2013, or even in 2012, depending on which source you believe), claims to have won a “Best Feature” award by the so-called “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” at the recent Berlinale.
Here is the tweet in question:

The Scarapist won best feature at @berlinale EFM from the Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher! Source: Twitter link

And here is the Facebook post on the makers’s wall making the same claim:

The Scarapist won best feature at Berlinale European Film Market from the Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher, also known as the Association of German Critics and Filmmakers! Source: Facebook link

Knowing a thing or two about European film festivals – having myself volunteered at a big documentary film festival for years in Amsterdam and also seen a lot of the films that end up being shown at festivals – I instantly smelled a huge rat, so I researched these claims. You’ll be surprised, boys and girls, that most people in the American indie film industry do not do this, they do not bother to fact-check award claims made by filmmakers eventhough it’s now easier than ever to do so thanks to the internet. Indie poseurs rely on this lack of fact-checking to get away with their claiming fake laurels. If you seriously want to work on indie films, pay attention to your intuition when your gut tells you that something isn’t right about a filmmaker claiming awards for their films and be suspicious when people tell you not to question things.

Here is what came out of my research:

I couldn’t find any information online about an alleged “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” being active in Germany or at the Berlinale specifically. This alleged organization does not appear to exist at all.

The only organization I was able to find through Google is a “Verband” of German film critics called “Verband der Deutschen Filmkritik”. Obviously a “Verband” is not the same thing as a “Verein” in German. I contacted them and they themselves told me that their “Verband” has nothing to do with this alleged “Verein”. This is the official website Verband der Deutschen Filmkritik: http://www.vdfk.de/ There isn’t a single announcement on their website of them awarding films at the Berlinale or of them awarding The Scarapist.

I also sent an e-mail to the Berlinale European Film Market asking them whether The Scarapist had received any awards at their festival. I would strongly recommend contacting the festival itself if you are wondering whether a filmmaker is being truthful about their film receiving awards. Festivals have a very good grasp on such things and keep close track of which films are awarded at each edition. Here is the e-mail message to the Berlinale EFM.

I am writing to you with the following question regarding a claim I came across today in the social media.

An American independent horror film by the name of “The Scarapist”, released in the US in 2015, claims to have won a “Best Feature” award by the so-called “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” at the recent Berlinale.

Here is the tweet in question:

https://twitter.com/TheScarapist/status/701828233524879360

And here is the Facebook post on the makers’ wall making the same claim:

https://www.facebook.com/TheScarapist/photos/a.858992764120696.1073741833.450496221637021/1160314683988501/?type=3

I cannot find any information online about an alleged “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” being active in Germany. Does this alleged organization exist? Were they invited to the EFM at the Berlinale?

The only organization I was able to find through Google is “Verband der Deutschen Filmkritik”.

I cannot find any mention of such an award or of this film being awarded at the Berlinale on the website for the
“Verband der Deutschen Filmkritik”:

http://www.vdfk.de/

Furthermore, there appears to be no such
award from any German critics association mentioned anywhere on the Berlinale website:

https://www.berlinale.de/en/das_festival/preise_und_juries/preise_unabh_ngigen_jurys/index.html

Could you please explain whether the above tweet and Facebook post are true?

Does this alleged organization “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher” even exist?

Is this alleged organization associated with the Berlinale and the EFM?

Did they really award the film “The Scarapist” for Best Feature at the Berlinale?

Please let me know because there are a lot of frauds claiming fake awards in the industry lately.

Sincerely,

drs. Efthimia Dilpizoglou

 

The Berlinale EFM, predictably, responded in the negative: they wrote to me that The Scarapist has never received any awards at their festival, and that they have never heard of this alleged “Verein” before.

Part 2: The proliferation of false awards claims on the internet by indie film industry poseurs for the sake of promoting their films – the use of aggregator websites and Search Engine Optimization services to spread false claims far and wide on the internet with no oversight.

Aggregator websites are used by companies that offer so-called Search Engine Optimization or SEO services. If you are unfamiliar with the wacky world of Search Engine Optimization and how they are used to manipulate search engine hits, please read this Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization

What these companies basically do is they run a whole bunch of fake websites appearing to the casual viewer like regular press release websites, and proceed to post the same PR message on all these sites that they themselves run simultaneously. Because the message ends up on so many websites at the same time, Google’s web-crawling spider-bots pick up the same PR message over and over again on different websites and thus the PR message ends up at the top of the list of hits when you do a Google Search for a specific term. Because there is no oversight whatsoever, Search Engine Optimization services are a great way for liars to propagate lies far and wide on the internet with virtually no impediment. Google already knows about SEO websites manipulating its web-crawlers in this manner,  but Google doesn’t care to block them from doing so. In fact, as you will see in the list of aggregator sites I have assembled below, Google happily participates in the perpetration of deceitful PR messages through SEO by hosting these deceitful PR messages on their own website.
You can generally recognize an aggregator website because they will include a disclaimer at the top of their site with the following text or something to this effect: “Information contained on this page is provided by companies via press release distributed through PR Newswire, an independent third-party content provider. PR Newswire, WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.”. This disclaimer is just a legal trick for aggregator websites to absolve themselves of defamation lawsuits for being used by liars to spread all kinds of bullshit on the internet. However, some aggregator websites are so deceptive and reckless that they do not even bother to include any disclaimer at all at the top of their pages, and only upon close scrutiny does it become apparent that one is dealing with a press-release aggregator and not a regular website with real content. Such disclaimer-free aggregator websites are amongst the most rogue and feral websites on the internet.

I have assembled what I believe to be the full list of aggregator websites used by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza to spread the false claim that her film The Scarapist received an award “at Berlinale International Film Festival and European Film Market”. The language used in the original press release, which was then copied onto all the other aggregator websites, is clearly meant to be misleading and to suggest that The Scarapist received a Berlinale award. Also, notice how many of these aggregator websites listed below have the word “fox” in their domain name. The use of the word “fox” in the domain name is meant to falsely suggest that these are Fox News websites or somehow Fox News affiliated websites when they are not.

1) This is the original PR message that started the ball rolling and was copied ad verbatim by all the other aggregator websites in this list:

“The Scarapist”™ wins best picture at Berlinale
“The Scarapist”™ has been awarded best picture by the Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher at Berlinale International Film Festival and European Film Market.

Indie thriller “The Scarapist”™ from Seasons & a Muse Productions won the award for best picture from Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher (VDKUF) at the 2016 Berlinale International Film Festival and European Film Market (EFM). Based on a true story of therapist abuse, “The Scarapist”™ stars Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, Katy Colloton and R. Michael Gull, and is directed by screenwriter Spicuzza and Synthian Sharp.

“The Scarapist”™ screened at EFM on February 12, following its limited release in Landmark Theatres. The VDKUF, an association comprised of German critics and filmmakers, held its awards ceremony on February 17.

In addition to the VDKUF Award presented to “The Scarapist,”™ River Road Entertainment’s production “Seline,” which also screened at EFM, was awarded best short film. Director Luciano Silighini Garagnani and actresses Flavia Monteleone, Sara Menassi and Sofia Bergamo were in attendance.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale-300226570.html

2) Press release distributed by PRLog
http://www.thestreet.com/story/13473112/1/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale.html?cm_ven=RSSFeed

3) Information contained on this page is provided by companies via press release distributed through PR Newswire, an independent third-party content provider. PR Newswire, WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.
http://www.fox28.com/story/31320100/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale

4) Information contained on this page is provided by companies via press release distributed through PR Newswire, an independent third-party content provider. PR Newswire, WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.
http://www.myfoxtallahassee.com/story/31320100/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale

5) idem
http://www.foxwilmington.com/category/48524/entertainment

6) idem
http://www.wboy.com/story/31320100/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale

7) Information contained on this page is provided by an independent third-party content provider. WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith. If you have any questions or comments about this page please contact pressreleases@worldnow.com
http://www.wvnstv.com/story/31320100/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale

8) http://pennychaser.com/news/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale

9) Information contained on this page is provided by companies via press release distributed through PR Newswire, an independent third-party content provider. PR Newswire, WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.
http://www.myfoxchattanooga.com/story/31320100/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale

10) idem
http://www.abc40.com/story/31320100/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale

11) idem
http://www.cw-gabama.com/story/31320100/the-scarapist-wins-best-picture-at-berlinale

12) http://s4story.com/story/10249963

13) http://www.lelezard.com/communique-9493852.html

14) http://rezul.com/news/10292729

15) http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=T&ct2=us&fd=S&url=http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2850169&cid=52779052966769&ei=XXbTVtmMDtTqsgGriIXoDw&usg=AFQjCNGTjIV9wn0JzkiQBeNmzUiRvuyCPw <–  as you can see, even Google is all too happy to allow its search engine to be used to spead questionable if not outright false or misleading PR messages. That same deceitful PR message that the aggregator websites mirrored ended up being mirrored on Google.com itself.

Part 3: Online claims that The Scarapist was directed in 2009 by Julie Dash of _Daughters of the Dust_ fame  

According to several webpages I have found with Google (for example, here, here and here), _The Scarapist_ was directed in 2009 by African-American film director Julie Dash, the respected director of the 1991 film _Daughters of the Dust_ which I have seen myself. This claim however does not appear on the IMDB page for The Scarapist or Julie Dash’s own IMDB page. Did Julie Dash direct The Scarapist, or is this another falsehood about the film being spread on the internet using aggregator sites? If anyone knows please let me know. Why are there all these pages claiming that Julie Dash was the director? Where did these pages/claims come from?

Part 4: Close-reading analysis of the film-trailer for _The Scarapist_. Does this even look like a film deserving of an award for “Best Feature” at Berlinale?
This blog article is about ethics in film promotion. But what kind of film artist  makes false award claims to promote their film? Did Zack Snyder, Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan or Stanley Kubrick make false awards claims when they were starting out to help their films along?

Of course not. Really talented people don’t need false awards claims to have a film career. Whoever is making false awards claims, chances are they are just an amateur or an industry-hack and the film viewing public might  actually be right for ignoring their film. If you want to be awarded for your films, why don’t you try making better films for starters? Instead of spending money on aggregator websites to spread lies about your film across the internet, why not use that money to get some professionals onboard and make a more professional looking film? Let’s have a close look now at the online trailer for _The Scarapist_  and assess this film trailer for professionalism, workmanship and characterization.

I had a look at _The Scarapist_ film trailer and to me as a casual viewer of feature films (I’ll admit I am unimpressed by most feature films I watch, and would much rather be watching a documentary) this looks like sloppily colour-corrected Youtube B-movie. It doesn’t look like a film I would personally pay to see at an arthouse cinema. I would only watch it for free on Vimeo or Youtube. Also, whoever colour-corrected this film clearly doesn’t know how to white-balance because the scarapist character’s face looks pink/purple in some of the scenes. The crew behind this film also doesn’t seem to know how to properly light a scene/face for a facial close-up. I mean seriously, why all these eyelash shadows blocking and distracting from her eyes? If this character is a hypnotist her eyes should be the whole focus. There is a huge difference between not being able to properly light your film and claiming your film to be “noir” because of random shadows. Unnecessary eyelash shadows isn’t “noir”, it means your director doesn’t know how to light a face threeway to prevent eyelash shadows. All in all, The Scarapist doesn’t look like Berlinale award material by any stretch. It’s an insult to the Berlinale really for someone to perpetrate the false claim of having received an award at their festival for such a sloppy and badly made film showing all the seams of an amateur job. I obviously haven’t seen the whole film so as to comment on the story. The trailer suggests a stereotypical “damsel in distress” trope. I also dislike the statements that Jeanne Marie Spicuzza made in a podcast about the female scarapist seducing the female lead, saying that the film was meant to depict a scarapist who goes looking for a patient to exploit rather than a patient who is looking for a therapist. In Queer Film Theory this is known as a classic lesbophobic trope of mainstream straight film wherein the good innocent  straight girl is seduced by the evil lesbian seductress. The presentation of the seductress as an evil manipulator is meant to foreclose any possibility that the straight girl might have desired or enjoyed the seduction and might herself be interested in exploring some form of lesbianism, whether platonic or overtly sexual.

See also:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbian_vampire
Update 29MAR2016: The Scarapist also seems to be informed by another American literary genre, that of the so-called Southern Gothic, a genre characterized by tropes such as, to quote Spicuzza’s beloved Wikipedia, “ambivalent gender roles, decayed or derelict settings, grotesque situations, and other sinister events relating to or stemming from poverty, alienation, crime, or violence.”. One of the bands for which Spicuzza’s husband was the drummer, the Violent Femmes, is according to the Wikipedia article associated with the Southern Gothic genre in music.

Not having seen the movie itself I do not know whether this seduction is merely a metaphor or whether we are dealing with an actual platonic lesbian-esque relationship between the two female characters. (At one point the therapist reaches out and touches a strand of hair as the female lead walks by.) The trailer certainly doesn’t arouse my interest to discover how the relationship between the therapist and the patient develops, because there isn’t anything here to be discovered: the therapist is already revealed in the trailer to be the personification of evil (at one point she bears an upside down cross on her forehead) and the female lead is presented as pure if gullible innocence. Bo-ring! I would guess that most adults prefer to see movies where there are shades of gray to the morality of a character. I am willing to accept the possibility that the story behind The Scarapist might be so captivating that the experienced b-movie viewer would forgive the film its mistakes and weak points in favour of the narrative. However I do know that a trailer is meant to present the most exciting/promising parts of a film, and this trailer rather reveals everything that is wrong with The Scarapist.

Part 5: I am a desperate indie film maker, should I pull a Jeanne Marie Spicuzza and spread falsehoods about my film receiving awards I have never received? What are the risks of doing so?

I understand that the indie film industry is a cut-throat industry. I understand that this film industry is all about who you know and who they know. I know things are hard for indie filmmakers. I know things are especially hard for female indie filmmakers. All these are no excuse for you to go around making false claims about receiving laurels from your film.

You have NO right to use the name and logo of the Berlinale EFM or any other film festival for that matter as a means to lend credence to your self-serving lies. In America you can get sued for doing so. Don’t ever try to make false claims about your film having received awards at for example Sundance or any other big American festival that awards filmmakers. In the case of the Berlinale you are abusing the name and logo of a highly respected European film festival to spread lies about yourself and your film, thus increasing profits for yourself at the expense of the reputation of the Berlin film festival. What you are doing could be interpreted as fraud under certain readings of European law, and the festival could report you to the German authorities for dragging their name and/or logo into a deceitful PR campaign. I believe that unlike litigious Americans who will sue anyone and everything at the drop of a hat, Europeans don’t take it to court because they just feel sorry for you that you have to resort to such desperate measures to garner unwarranted and undeserved attention for your film. It’s a cultural difference. My understanding is that Americans have a tendency to misinterpret this European laissez-faire attitude and lack of a litigious culture as an invitation to exploit and abuse the system to their heart’s content. Maybe we should stop being so lax about this in Europe and take a few Americans to court to teach them some respect for our cultural institutions. Americans would obviously never pull this shit with an American film festival, like Sundance or Telluride, because they know they’d sue and/or would get them blacklisted all over the States for being such an industry charlatan claiming false laurels. Americans are doing this to a European film festival because they think they can get away with it. I sincerely hope that whoever claims false laurels at the Berlinale or any other European film festival will suffer the professional consequences for hurting the entire indie film industry as a whole with your selfish lies, and I hope the Berlinale will get them blacklisted so that they are never allowed to ever screen their films again at their festival or any other European festival.

If you are a young film student who is considering making false awards claims, think about how this reflects on you. You must be such an insecure attention-seeker to need to resort to claiming false awards from a non-existent critics organization to feel like you have accomplished something. Indie film industry poseurs and charlatans are making things harder for everyone working in indie film. No one trusts indie film makers anymore because of liars claiming awards never received and using aggregator websites to spread self-serving lies far and wide. They are the reason all the really talented hard-working film artists can’t get their films pitched at festivals anymore. They are a parasite and a pest on the real indie film industry where people don’t have to claim fake awards to garner attention for their films, where films stand or fall on the basis of their own artistic merits. American film makers complain about the Telluride film festival being coopted by the mainstream film industry. Well, do you realize festivals are going corporate exactly because of people trying to hawk their films on the basis of false claims? Indie film makers were already treated with suspicion, and because of false award claims this suspicion will now only get worse. Do you understand that any false promotional campaign launched by an indie film maker will affect not only your own credibility but that of indie film makers as a group?

Worst of all is when you are making false awards claims as a female filmmaker, because women have it harder than anyone else in the sexist film industry. Both the indie film industry and the mainstream industry are notoriously sexist. But if women filmmakers are as good as men, why would they need to resort to making false award claims to promote their films? Your insecurity as a female filmmaker in a sexist cultural industry is no excuse to want to deceive the public to make yourself feel better. A female filmmaker making false award claims is making every female filmmaker seem like an impostor who resorts to telling lies to garner attention for her film. Women in film are already suffering from Impostor Syndrome without having to actually resort to lies about the merits of their films.

To close, boys and girls in filmschool, don’t be an indie film industry poseur. Don’t claim awards you’ve never received. Don’t drag film festivals into deceptive advertising campaigns. Don’t deceive anyone at all if you can avoid it.

Part 6: Broken windows theory applied to the indie film industry – how industry wannabes beget more wannabes who in turn beget more wannabes. The downward spiral of corruption in the indie film industry.

Let’s apply the broken windows theory to people making false awards claims in the indie film industry. Let’s look at every false award claim being made by an indie filmmaker as a broken window in Tinseltown. People try to rationalize the deception saying: “Everyone tells a white lie every now and then”, “We like to twist things a little bit”, “Have you never told a lie on your resume”, “all actresses lie about their age on IMDB”, etc etc. I firmly believe that when liars are awarded this gives them an incentive to tell ever more grotesque lies. I have seen this corruption repeatedly with my own eyes manifest in the indie film industry. Lies incentivize ever greater and more absurd lies. Liars also have a tendency to bring other liars into the industry. People who never considered lying before suddenly find themselves lying too because they see liars getting away with it and reason that “nice guys don’t get paid”. Soon, the industry will consist of nothing but liars constantly scamming and deceiving one another in a truly sick and perverted game of oneupmanship that ultimately benefits no one. No one will trust eachother anymore and the product of the industry, the films being made, will suffer because they are being made in such a toxic environment. Film is a collaborative artform and there has to be trust. There can only be trust when people are honest. If someone doesn’t like your film they are doing you a favour being honest about it because they are inadvertently helping you become a better film maker. Stop thinking of criticism as “people throwing up all over you” and other such grotesque emo metaphors. Grow a spine and learn to appreciate criticism. I believe people sincerely want to see better films being made. I want to see better films being made because I never liked most of the feature films I saw in my life, with a handful of notable exceptions. Honest criticism is the only way to get there.

During my research into The Scarapist claims, I discovered that there was yet another indie film on Facebook falsely claiming laurels from this “VDKUF” or “Verein Deutscher Kritiker Und Filmemacher”:

https://www.facebook.com/selinethemovie/photos/a.909084085846041.1073741829.902287746525675/952389611515488/?type=3 UPDATE: This post appears to have been removed from the Seline Facebook page. However, the Youtube videos perpetrating the myth that this Seline film was awarded at the Berlinale are both still online, as are all the false press releases on the aggregator websites.

What you are seeing here is “broken windows theory” in action in the indie film industry. And they too were using (Italian) aggregator websites to spread their false laurel claims far and wide. Even after I confronted them if my researched they refused to admit they were deceiving the public about receiving an award at Berlinale. They admitted that they had never received an award at Berlinale (while claiming otherwise on their aggregator websites) but then tried to gaslight by claiming that the “Verein”, which clearly doesn’t exist, is supposedly some private German company that handed them an award at Berlinale but wasn’t associated with Berlinale. As I wrote above, there is no evidence whatsoever of this “Verein” ever existing or being active at Berlinale. The Berlinale EFM themselves stated they had never heard of this alleged “Verein” before. They also stated that if a film had won an award at Berlinale, they would know about it. Am I supposed to believe that some “private” German company of film critics and filmmakers is supposedly quietly handing out awards left and right at Berlinale without the EFM themselves knowing about this company or authorizing such an activity on their festival premises? If you know how punctual and formal Germans are, and how obsessed they are with documenting everything under the sun, you’d know how preposterous this claim is. I wanted to ask the Seline crew to provide me with hard evidence of their receiving an award from this alleged “private company” quietly infiltrating Berlinale, but discovered that they had blocked me from asking further questions. Someone who is honest and true should not shy away from answering pointed questions and providing evidence. It always depresses me when upon being exposed someone still tries to gaslight.

To conclude, if you want awards for your films, make better films. PERIOD.

Sources used in the writing of this article:

Full list of 2016 Berlinale award recipients
https://www.berlinale.de/media/pdf_word/service_7/66_ifb/66_Berlinale_Awards.pdf <– as you can plainly see with your own eyes, Jeanne Marie’s The Scarapist is nowhere to be found in this list.
Jeanne Marie Spicuzza falsely claiming to have received a Berlinale award from this non-existing “Verein” on her personal LinkedIn page:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/scarapist-wins-big-berlinale-jeanne-marie-spicuzza?articleId=6108125708922421248#comments-6108125708922421248&trk=prof-post

Feminist Frequency has a great series of videos on Youtube about the “damsel in distress” trope as it occurs in both American films and video-games:


Article about The Scarapist with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza interview:
http://onmilwaukee.com/ent/articles/myitalia.html

Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s latest film project Night Rain Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/nightrainmovie

Podcast interviews with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza about The Scarapist by Bennet Pomerantz:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bennetpomerantz2/2016/02/10/lets-talk-with-rachel-bennet-guest-jeanne-marie-spicuzza
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2014/12/21/any-which-way-but-loose-with-bennet-pomerantz

Steated At The Writers’ Table podcast interview with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza about The Scarapist:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/seated-at-writers-table-podcast/id980801767?mt=2 <– this is where she makes the claims about the relationship between the scarapist and the female lead being “seduction”.

Going Commando podcast interviews with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza:
https://archive.org/details/GoingCommandoWithMaeAswell1-17-11

Music 4 Life radio podcast interview with Jeanne Marie Spicuzza:
“Meet guest Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, a film producer in California, as she unveils the secret that seeded the special film project called The Scarapist, then discusses deeper topics that link the Sex Pistols with Hildegarde of Bingen.”

Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s autobiographical poem about her therapist:
http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/jspicuzza/2011/02/honey-delicious/ <– What is interesting is that in this poem the scarapist is described as being an older lady. In the essay I link to below, Spicuzza describes The Scarapist as the mother-figure she wished she had, again indicating that this therapist was an older person. In the film the therapist character, whose name is Ilse, is actually played by a young woman, younger even than Jeanne Marie’s character Lana. Why did Spicuzza turn The Scarapist into a young woman for her supposedly autobiograpical film? That seems like a rather peculiar capitulation to the sexism and ageism of mainstream American film for someone who in one of the above podcasts claims to have a punk rock background, and was also describing herself as a “riot grrrl” (female punk rocker) on Wikipedia, as you will see below in the Wikipedia links.

Jeanne Marie Spicuzza has written a two-part essay about her alleged real life experiences that were the basis for The Scarapist screenplay:
http://rachelintheoc.com/tag/jeanne-marie-spicuzza/

The Scarapist by guest @JeanneSpicuzza Part Two

This essay suggests that the scarapist supposedly hypnotized Jeanne Marie Spicuzza into visting a specific hairstylist in Los Angeles to get a haircut. I can’t imagine a story so pedestrian making for an exciting viewing experience. Who wants to see a whole film about a woman who’s scared of haircuts getting a haircut supposedly under the spell of an overwhelming hypnotist of a therapist? (Frankly, that sounds more like a great idea for a comedy than a thriller!) I can’t imagine anyone thinking this to be an exciting premise. I know a lot of women associate their hair with their femininity and might identify with the female lead based on that, but as a woman who has had both long and short hair I don’t particularly identify with that hair fetish. I just don’t see what the big deal is about someone being talked by their therapist into getting a haircut. It seems to me that this is exactly what therapists do and I would guess that people routinely visit therapists to get over all kinds of irrational phobias. I don’t see the thrill in that. As for this statement from the essay: “It turned out, she had hacked out over 65 percent of my hair, causing root and shaft damage, even hair loss.”, isn’t a haircut technically a form of hair loss by default?  If there was really “root and shaft damage” (you know what we say on the internet, pictures or it didn’t happen!), how is the therapist to blame for the incompetence of the hairstylist? Nevermind logic and reason in assigning blame, so traumatized is Jeanne Marie Spicuzza from getting that haircut that she supposedly, quoting again from the above essay, “(…) called suicide hotline over twenty-three times in nine months following our last conversation. I felt folded into pieces, broken, seemingly beyond repair. I beat my own body. I didn’t want to live with the shame. My husband found me, naked in the dark.(…) Shattering and devastation, my pain, grinding on my mind and bones everyday. I was often dizzy, and had to catch myself from falling. I was diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, and was told it would be years before I would recover.”… let’s just say I feel confirmed in my opinion that this strange story of obsessive haircut drama is better suited for comedy than a thriller. And I still don’t see how an incompetent hairstylist can be blamed on the therapist who merely recommended them, but then again in American courts judges routinely sentence completely innocent people to deathrow and call that “justice”. As for the claim that the therapist implanted sexual abuse memories, this is mentioned in passing in the essay and left dangling. What I did manage to discover during my research was this 2001 San Jose/Silicon Valley area article by a “Mary Spicuzza” about a medical malpractice lawsuit. I wonder whether this is related to The Scarapist, because this Mary Spicuzza writing about medical malpractice as far back as 2001 appears to be the sister Jeanne Marie Spicuzza. Isn’t it interesting that Jeanne Marie’s sister Mary Spicuzza was writing about medical malpractice half a decade before Jeanne Marie Spicuzza herself claimed to have suffered medical malpractice at the hands of a therapist?

Update 14MAR2016: Spicuzza apparently sent an abusively frivolous and censorious DMCA takedown request to WordPress in which she preposterously claims that quoting 8 sentences from her 400+ sentence autographical essay supposedly constitutes a copyright infringement. Spicuzza, who in this podcast interview claimed she was almost thrown out of a court for “sounding like a lawyer”, has obviously never heard of something called protected fair use in the context of criticism. According to a quantitative analysis I performed using the website https://wordcounter.net/ Spicuzza’s essay consists of 3775 words and 411 sentences. It goes without saying that quoting a mere 8 sentences out of 411 sentences, or a mere 101 words out of 3775 words (which is about 3% of the total essay, since Spicuzza is such a fan of statistics), is proportional fair use with regards to the full lenght of the essay. Fortunately WordPress recognized her DMCA takedown request was frivolous and refused to removed my article. #FAIL It is my firm belief that Spicuzza needs to spend more time learning how to make decent movies instead of wasting her time sending out frivolous DMCA takedown requests to censor film criticism. But what to expect from someone who is so insecure that she needs false press releases on aggregator websites to inflate her film?

As for the alleged lawsuit, I now have a PACER (Public Access To Electronic Court Documents) account and can look up any civil or criminal lawsuit in the United States that isn’t sealed. I haven’t been able to find Spicuzza’s alleged lawsuit against her therapist, but this could be due to the fact that lawsuits involving doctors/therapists and/or medical/therapeutic procedures are often sealed or anonymized in the US to protect the privacy of the patient. Either the lawsuit has been sealed or anonymized for privacy, or this lawsuit just doesn’t exist the same way the Berlinale award claim is false and the “Verein” doesn’t exist. I am open to either posibility.

During my online research into Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s career I discovered that her Wikipedia article had been voted into deletion by Wikipedia editors after they discovered that she was making unsourced claims about herself and had also used a sockpuppet account to vote in favour of herself. According to the records currently available on Wikipedia, Jeanne Marie Spicuzza not only enlisted the help of her sister Mary Spicuzza in tracking down an Wikipedia editor she was enrolled in a dispute with over the Ralph Nader Wikipedia article, but even went and hired a legal gun in Los Angeles, a personal injury attorney by the name of Richard Rosenthal Esq, and sent a legal threat to the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, demanding that alleged “defamation” about her be deleted from their site. I will assume mr. Rosenthal would like to see with his own eyes my correspondence with Berlinale EFM confirming that his client never won an award at their festival and that the Berlinale has never heard of this alleged “Verein” that his client claims to have received an award from. I in turn would love to receive from mr. Rosenthal hard evidence of his client receiving a Berlinale award and hard evidence of the existence of this “Verein”.

According to this TechDirt comment Mary Spicuzza got herself involved in a Wikipedia editing war involving her sister Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s vanity article on Wikipedia and a Wikipedia editor who insisted it should be removed and succeeded to have it voted into deletion.
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080720/2035441742.shtml#c115

Legal threat by Jeanne Marie Spicuzza to Wikimedia Foundation (say hi to Personal Injury Attorney Richard Rosenthal, Spicuzza’s legal gun in Los Angeles):

In defense of Google’s Street View, and thoughts on Internet privacy

The discussion about the incident archived on Wikipedia itself suggests that Jeanne Marie Spicuzza was using Wikipedia to spread unsourced claims about herself through her Wikipedia vanity article. In other words, she was using Wikipedia in the same way she is now making false awards claims after having her film screened at the EFM. Are we to conclude that Jeanne Marie has a history of making false or unsourceable claims about herself and her achievements? Quoting from the archived discussion:


Mary Spicuzza doesn’t say that the “page” in question was in fact a Wikipedia article about Jeanne Marie Spicuzza. Another editor nominated this article for deletion on notability grounds; I was one of 16 editors (out of 19) who voted to remove the article from Wikipedia. An article about Spicuzza’s company, Seasons & a Muse, Inc., was also removed. Mary Spicuzza also doesn’t mention that her sister Jeanne was banned on two occasions from Wikipedia for sock-puppeteering at Ralph Nader articles, each time for six months.

After Jeanne Marie Spicuzza’s “page” was removed from Wikipedia, another Spicuzza family member — she describes herself as “21 year old female,” where Jeanne Marie is nearly 40 — began keeping a MySpace blog about me. In her latest entry, she describes herself as “Accomplished,” gives a link to her aunt’s (sister’s?) SF Weekly article, and pronounces it “Awesome!” (The Wikip spamblock feature does not allow My Space links, but trust me.)

(In fairness to Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, author Mary Spicuzza’s sister, it should be noted that Jeanne Marie claims to be unacquainted with Wikipedia. In the Comments section to her sister’s SF Weekly article she wrote, “I do not participate on Wikipedia, nor do I use it as a source” (see comment #10, dated Feb. 13, 2008). However, this statement contradicts author Mary Spicuzza’s claim to have heard about me first from her sister Jeanne; moreover, the quotes Mary Spicuzza used in her article show an understanding of my Wikipedia dealings with Jeanne Marie that Mary could not have acquired on her own.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators’_noticeboard/IncidentArchive372#Attempted_Outing_of_Wikipedia_Editor_User:Griot_by_Tawdry_Tabloid_Journalist

The following comments by Wikipedia editors voting on why the Jeanne Marie Spicuzza vanity article should be deleted are instructional in the context of Jeanne Marie Spicuzza using aggregator websites to spread her false Berlinale award claims far and wide on the internet to inflate interest for her film. These comments plainly shows that she has a history of making either false, unsourced, unverfiable or inflated and self-congratulatory claims about herself:


“A whole lot of air inflating very little. Lots of name-dropping, very little reason for that.”


“This individual appears only in her own productions, according to IMDB. No independent evidence of notability. Article is almost certainly autobiography.”


“The subject could be marginally notable but the self-promotion and policy violations are overwhelming. I wouldn’t be against re-creation of a neutral, balanced and well-sourced article. History does not give us much hope that the subject herself will be able to do that.”


“Ironically, if the article had not been so frequently edited by individuals with clear associations with Ms. Spicuzza and thus clear conflicts of interest, I might have abstained or voted to keep. But the evidence for notability is marginal and all the sockpuppet/meatpuppet activity makes even that marginal amount so suspect that it falls back under the notability line.”

What is particularly disturbing is that Jeanne Marie Spicuzza, under her Wikipedia sockpuppet name of Telogen (an account she abandoned supposedly after discovering that Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales supports pornography), resorts to accusations of sexism and also has the nerve to bring up riot grrrl to attack Wikipedia editors for wanting to delete her vanity article, while insultingly referring to them as “40 year old virgins out for blood” saying she hopes to “see more fem votes” (I am a radical feminist myself and let it be known I will never endorse a poseur making false claims about themselves in the film industry just because she is female):


Article asserts notability and sources confirm it. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ranks 39 in top 100 largest U.S. newspapers, hardly “indie” or “non-trivial.” ‘Poetry Motel’ is a respected publication, and none listed are vanity presses. Sourced in international riotgrrrl publications. Ani DiFranco uses her own label, as does Kat Bjelland, etc., so doesn’t make a good argument. Btw, seems one user voted twice. Looks like a lot of 40 year-old virgins out for blood. Hope to see some more fem, impartial and/or non-SPP votes. Telogen 08:55, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Jeanne_Marie_Spicuzza&diff=132471771&oldid=132343671

A woman filmmaker using feminism as an excuse to cover up a thorougly documented career of online vanity at Wikipedia is one of the most annoying abuses of feminism a radical feminist like myself has to encounter online.

It’s telling how Jeanne Marie Spicuzza would never make any false claims about receiving awards at an American festival like La Femme. She knows exactly what would happen if she did claim a false award at an American film festival. Not only would she run the risk of being sued for dragging the name and reputation of that festival into a false advertising campaing while effectively claiming a false endorsement from the festival, such a move would probably get her blacklisted across the US.

She fact that Jeanne Marie Spicuzza is posting about her film in a Facebook group such as Seeking Our Story, a group about films by female filmmakers while using her film to perpetrate tired old stereotypes such as “damsel in distress” is a typical example of the way Jeanne Marie Spicuzza only invokes feminism and women to benefit herself while seemingly having no understanding or knowledge of feminist film critique. If she did, The Scarapist would have been a completely different movie.

UPDATE 14MAR2016: Update: Jeanne Marie Spicuzza tried to take down this blog entry with a maliciously false DMCA takedown request for linking to this Facebook entry on the Seeking Our Stories Facebook wall which features an embedded picture of actress Katie Colloton. WordPress automatically expands the post with the embedded picture, so I removed the expanded embedded post and replaced it with this link. A whole blog entry exposing Spicuzza’s

 

“The truth does not bind us, it sets us free. <3” – Jeanne Marie Spicuzza.

ChannelsOfRageDoc
Channels of Rage (Arotzim Shel Za’am) by Anat Halachmi (2003)  is an Israeli documentary about the rap scene in Tel Aviv. This documentary was screened at the 2003 edition of the IDFA when I attended that festival at the time. Basically every rhyme uttered by the rappers in this documentary, whether from a Zionist or an Arab perspective, would get them all home-raided, arrested, detained and criminalized, that is, if they had the misfortune of rapping in the censorious fascist dictatorship of the Netherlands instead of Israel. That’s right folks, an Arab rapper rapping in ISRAEL in 2003 had more freedom of speech to rap about whatever he wanted to than a Dutch rapper like Ismo does in the Netherlands in 2015! This comparison between the two speech regimes separated by a decade is veritable proof that censorious fascism is on the rise in the Netherlands. In one of the scenes the Zionist Israeli rapper Subliminal complains about his Palestinian counterpart Tamer having a rhyme where he compares Jews to Nazis – basically the same kind of rhyme that Ismo was indicted over last year – but never once does the Zionist rapper argue for censorship! If Israeli Jews in Israel do not support the censorship of a Palestinian rapper comparing Jews to Nazis in their own country, who the fuck are the Dutch to tell them otherwise and to indict a Dutch rapper supposedly for “criminally insulting” Jews?
What is the Openbaar Ministerie, which is clearly populated by Public Prosecutors who hate rap music and want to persecute and criminalize rappers with a passion that knows no bounds, going to do about the fact that everyone and their mother can watch this Israeli documentary and listen/read lyrics that are criminal by Dutch legal standards? Is the Openbaar Ministerie going to ban the documentary? Maybe ban access to Youtube altogether like the Turkish government does with Twitter? What if IDFA were to screen this documentary again in what are basically the cultural “Dark Ages” of 2016? Would the Openbaar Ministerie raid the festival and confiscate the DVD to prevent this documentary from being screened? I swear, at some point in the future we will be witnessing scenes like what I’ve just described, when the Openbaar Ministerie takes this censorious hysteria towards rap music to its logical extreme. I predict that in the near future movies like Straight Outta Compton will no longer be screened in the Netherlands because the Openbaar Ministerie will confiscate the digital copies and indict the makers for incitement. Here is a short excerpt from Channels of Rage that you should go and watch before the Openbaar Ministerie decides to put a Chinese-style firewall around the Netherlands to ban access to such documentaries.