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Friday, 31 May 2013

Is This The Film That Goes Too Far? MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL

Today, we go back to the very heart of what this blog is about: extreme cinema! And what I have found for you, today, dear readers, is something so repellant, so mentally-scarring, so utterly brutal, this will push you well-and-truly over the edge, once-and-for-all!

There's a new, ultra-sickening piece of cinema currently being promoted and touted across various horror film sites and blogs right now, that will be of interest to many of my readers. Marian Dora's latest arthouse shocker MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL, or THE ANGEL'S MELANCHOLY is absolutely not for the easily-offended, and that is why I'm mentioning it here. (Dora's previous work was CANNIBAL from 2006.)

Considering all of the shocking films that have been released in the past few years, from A SERBIAN FILM, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II: FULL SEQUENCE, to a revised edit of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, via SNUFF 102, PHILOSOPHY OF A KNIFE, and the likes of SLAUGHTERED VOMIT DOLLS, MORDUM and many others, you wouldn't think there'd be many taboos left to break, or many more forms of extreme cinema left to depict.

Well, Dora has proved there is!

MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL was filmed in 2009, and released a year later. With a running time of 159 minutes, this is not going to be a short-and-sweet viewing. The fact that the only official releases, are from Germany and Austria, from "Shock DVD", and said releases not being English friendly, this is definitely not a film for many. (Both releases have the film in its original, native German language only, and no other audio/subtitle options, so purchasers be aware of this.)

In fact, I would probably safely argue that straight away, this is not going to be a film many will even contemplate at all, because of the afore-mentioned issues, let alone the graphic and unrelentingly repellant content that the film details and revels in.

At the minute, you can still import the film from Amazon Germany at this link  here  At about 19 Euros, (equivalent to approximately $25 US dollars, or £16 Pounds Sterling), it's not cheap by any means, and then you also have the additional cost of postage to your country on top, and you soon start to realise the odds are stacked against this film right from the get-go. I should also warn my readers, that some people have had their orders cancelled by Amazon Germany, as - technically - the film isn't meant to be sold out of its native country. The reason being, that the film is considered an extreme film, and with it not being officially classified by the German FSK Censor Board, Amazon have chosen to not allow some orders to non-German countries to pass through their system. Whilst your order may go through initially, and even get to the "Despatching" stage, you may still get an e-mail later on, saying that your order cannot be fulfilled, even though Amazon has copies available for purchase. If your order fails, you will have to either try again and cross your fingers it makes it through, or try having the film sent to an alternative address in another country, via friends, family or relatives - though you do this last option at your own risk. If this gets stopped at your local Customs department, and they take one viewing of it, you're going to need a strong legal defence team at the ready!

However, this is a trial-and-error scenario. I placed an order, and although it was in the "Despatching" stage for a couple of days, it did eventually get sent out to me, and arrived a couple of days later at my home address, unhindered by Customs.

But other purchasers have reported problems, so just be aware. Also, the film comes with an official, red, FSK 18 sticker attached to it. It's bogus! The film is absolutely NOT FSK-approved, and to be frank, would be banned or heavily cut in most countries around the globe, especially in Germany! Considering the FSK board doesn't really like mainstream horror films at the best of times, they'd balk at this one being approved for classification! And once I explain why, you'll soon understand what you're getting yourself into.

The DVD comes with four artcard postcards, housed inside a standard Amaray DVD case, which is housed inside a cosy cardboard sleeve. There are three short-films as extras, ranging from five minutes to half-an-hour in length, but they too, are in German only, or in some cases, dialogue-free and still as confusing and twisted as the main feature.

If, after all of the above, you are still wanting to get a copy of this film, or are contemplating purchasing it, hang-tight for one more moment. Read the rest of this blog post, before clicking on that Purchase button!

If you've got this far, and are still itching to get your hands on this grubby and repugnant little flick, you really do need to prepare yourself. Firstly, the film is not a true narrative film. That is, to say, the plot doesn't have a regular linear structure, like most ordinary films do. It's distinctly arthouse shocker: clever, pretentious, shocking photography first, narrative and plot, a distinct second. So trying to even describe this film to you, is going to be tough. I don't speak or read German, so I am using my own viewpoint and those of others I have read or spoken with, to form an approximate description. As such, my description of what I think happens, may not be wholly accurate. I apologise for this, and hope you will forgive me.

Essentially, the film appears to be about a couple of men, who kidnap a couple of women and another man, take them all to a forest, and then indulge themselves in a drugs and sex-fuelled orgy! The film then follows the two kidnappers as they play with, torture and then debase, mutilate and murder the victims!

That's roughly the plot.

Unfortunately, the film is dialogue-heavy. Some of it is muffled, some of it is unclear. All of it, however, is in German, in heavy accents, and to non-German viewers, it's going to be meaningless. Thus trying to work out what the hell is going-on, whilst they spout some pseduo cod-psychology mumbo-jumbo is going to grate heavily on your nerves. The dialogue may well explain the plot in great detail. It may in fact add a lot to your "enjoyment" and "understanding" of the film, but like I say, I don't understand German, so have to take the film at face-value - which is never the best way to experience a film. Moreso a film that entices viewers with some pretty far-out and fucked-up imagery, as this one does!

If this sounds like your kind of film, there's one more thing I need to discuss: the sick-factor!

This may well be the sickest, nastiest, most foul celluloid creation in cinema history! If you think you've seen it all, you probably haven't! Not by a long shot! Maybe if you've sat through every single piece of extreme cinema ever created, then perhaps this will not be remotely new to you. For the rest of us, I guarantee there will be something in this film to offend and upset you, without hesitation! In fact, some people have switched it off in disgust!

I cannot stress this enough! This film is utterly brutal, and depressing, and bleak, and nihilistic, and grubby! You may choose to watch this film in parts, of say, 30-45 minutes each. Watching the whole thing in one go, is likely to get to you, in a way that many other extreme cinema films don't. And as silly as it sounds, don't watch this before bedtime! You. Will. Regret. It.

The first troubling issue with this film's content, is the animal cruelty. Right from the outset, Dora includes sceens of live worms and maggots being cut into pieces; of roadkill being splattered everywhere; and to a very unpleasant scene involving the killing of cat, with its throat being sliced wide open! What worries me, is that the animal cruelty looks real. I hope to God it's been staged and is wholly fake, but I can't guarantee that. Worse still, Dora has gone on record saying that the animal killings were real, and that he enjoyed seeing them killed (and didn't have a problem with killing animals for entertainment purposes), and he's also gone on record vehemently denying the animal cruelty as being anything other than clever special effects.

I couldn't tell.

The cruelty all looked real. It all sounded real. It all felt real.

The second troubling issue, is the rest of the film's extreme nature. There's graphic and explicit sexual scenes, that are nothing short of pornographic in detail. I'm talking shots of male and female ejaculation; urination onto other people's bodies - both living and dead; defecation - again, onto living and dead bodies; the consumption of urine and excretia; a man fingering a woman's colostomy hole; sexual desecration of burning corpses, the consumption of semen and then vomiting it back up; intimate relations with a goat. Pretty much every extreme thing that can be done, you see it here!

The violent content is no less stomach-churning: masturbating nuns; sex with a burning corpse; snuff videos featuring women aborting their babies, and then doing horrendous things to the fetuses; entrails being removed from stomachs and played with; a woman has her ovaries removed; masturbation over snuff footage!

Now, I don't write this to excite or entice you to view this film, though I know some of you will use this movie as an endurance test: "Can I sit through it?" "Do I have a strong-enough stomach?" "Will the film really be as sick and depraved as the author claims?" Well, you may well make it through all 159 minutes. Then again, you may not. And if you don't, I wouldn't hold it against you. Quite simply, it's a litany of depravity, so if anyone can sit through it all - in one go, or in sections - then, I think that's pretty impressive by any standards! Just be warned of what you are letting yourself in for!

Is the film any good, though, I hear you ask? There's no easy answer. Some people have loved this film, because it is so debased and sickening. Others have admired what Dora was doing. I admire the work, in many ways. Some of the imagery is hauntingly beautiful. There is beauty to view, within the film. But, by God, the violence and the sexual stuff is unrelentingly cruel and vicious. This is not a film I would watch regularly, by any means. I may watch it once in a blue-moon, if that. It is that affecting, and troubling, I'm not sure I could handle watching it again, even for reviewing purposes.

Dora has some talent. He also has some balls! To pull this film off, get people involved, and get it financed, made, completed and ready for distribution, takes a gigantic set of cajones. But is it all worth it? In parts, yes. For the rest, no. If you want a film that tears you up and scatters you all over, then watch this, as you'll be feeling suicidal for the rest of the week. The shots and imagery will scar themselves into your brain, and you won't be able to forget what you've seen. Even if you want to forget them, you won't be able too!

And to be honest, you will want to forget some of what you've seen. There will be parts of you, begging to wipe away some of Dora's grotesquerie out of your soul forever, to be banished into some dark confine of your brain, where it needs to be locked-up tight, never to be accessed again! But it will linger in you, for a very, very long time after. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dora has succeeded in producing a film, that I don't think can be topped. Do I want a film to top this, however? No, absolutely not! I think I've reached my limits! Short of watching a mix of real snuff film, complete and unedited animal slaughterhouse footage, or child porn, I don't think I can be scared or challenged any further!

This is it, folks! This is the the one that really does go too far! Watch it at your peril! Just have something or someone else close by to reassure you afterwards, because this is akin to bathing your brain in hydrochloric acid! And it isn't fun, and it isn't pleasant! On the DVD cover, it cries out: "The most controversial film ever!" Dora was NOT joking!

Sweet dreams, everyone! You're going to need them!

ADDENDUM: Thank You to Dave at the Melon-Farmers website for linking this article on their excellent website! Much appreciated!

14 comments:

  1. Yeah, I watched this film without breaks and my god, it's awful. I am writing now, at 1:01am, so I'm going to sleep now but I don't feel sick. Sickened, for sure. For me, the worst parts were when the woman had her ovaries removed and the video of the abortion, I wanted to cry. I didn't really grasp the plot and even if I understood the language, I probably wouldn't have known what was going on. The main themes I got were: sex, lust and religion. If anyone's reading this and haven't watched it - don't. It stretches out for far too long, has a very weak storyline, weak acting (how hard is it to act insane?) and the sort of ideas that got Jamie Bulger murdered.

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    1. Hi Ebony,

      Thanks for commenting on my work. I'm sorry the film sickened you. Alas, this was one of the points I was mentioning. Sometimes we see stuff we utterly regret afterwards, but the damage has been done. It's too late to turn the clock back, and the shock imagery you were a witness too, is now burned forever more into your brain, where it festers and scars us.

      Kudos to you for viewing it though, but maybe there's a warning for others. Don't watch stuff you might regret after! You can never undo the damage!

      For what it's worth though, I'm not keen on you linking this to "the sort of ideas that got Jamie Bulger murdered". I think that's both insensitive to his death and his family, and also incredibly naive of you to think that. As has been proven time and time again, violent films have never been proven to cause violence in humans. At best, they are used as an excuse by sociopaths and psychopaths, as justification for their crimes. But no sound, reasonable, decent human being would ever lay blame on a film. And, anyway, there's always the "Off" button on your TV and DVD/Blu-Ray Player if things get too tough for anyone to stomach.

      The "Off" button is your friend. I just wished more people would use it, than trying to falsely link violent entertainment with real-life violence. The argument is not that simple. Thank You for writing though. :-)

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  2. After watching "A Serbian Film" with a female friend, we were both very surprised at the amount of psychological conflict and how dark human nature can get, which is difficult to convey when making something so obscene like this movie. We're now recovering and I'm quite surprised she made it past the birthing scene. Now, a friend of hers mentioned "Melancholie der Engel". After reading what this movie's about, our curiosity is getting the best of us but I'm feeling that we should take a break. YTube has both movies on their site and were both wondering if they're allowing their broadcast so they can keep tabs of people who have a curiosity to these types of movies....things that make you "hmmmmm..?!"

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    1. Hi Nava.

      Thank you for posting a comment. Anyone watching "extreme cinema" gets to a stage in their viewing-lives, where they wonder: "Do I really want to watch this film". Sometimes we do, and there are other times when the human side of us says "Actually, no, I think I'm going to leave things for a bit".

      The fact that YouTube has a lot of banned and/or contentious material on their site, is not because they allow it. (Their own rules states that such material isn't allowed.) I think it's more to do with laziness on the part of YouTube management, who don't seem to care that such material is routinely being uploaded for anyone to watch. A lot of these films on YouTube aren't even hidden behind the "You must be over 18" security barrier that exists, which makes it worse, because anyone of any age can view stuff that really isn't necessarily suitable for those over 18, let alone someone far younger.

      I'm going to assume you saw the full, uncut version of A SERBIAN FILM. If you saw the UK BBFC-approved version, then you haven't seen it uncut, and maybe - in this instance - that's a good thing. But, if you have seen the UK version, and found it troubling, then I certainly wouldn't really recommend you view the uncut version, let alone even consider moving on to MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL, as I think it may push you over your tolerance-threshold!

      Also, MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL is solely in German, and is 157 minutes long. That’s two endurance tests in itself, and then you're adding on a third one, due to the extreme content, and I think that you may be potentially opening yourself up to some serious nightmares.

      Whether you do or don't watch MELANCHOLIE... is your choice, and yours alone. I'm not going to advise you either way, as I think that it is wrong for people to do this, when it comes to "extreme cinema". Content, tone, duration all affect how we cope with extremely graphic and repellent imagery. Seeing a particular type of gore or violence in one film, does not mean you will be cool watching something similar in another. There are decapitations, and then there are decapitations. One day, you may view a film and be okay with it. On another day, you may not.

      The only thing I would say, is this: read my review of MELANCHOLIE... and then re-read it. Be wholly aware of what you are letting yourself in for, because once you watch it and see something you find abhorrent or troubling, which I am very sure you will, you won't be able to un-see it... ever!

      Thanks again, and I hope you will continue to read my articles and debates. I hope you will come back and post more comments again!

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  3. I watched it,didn't understand it but I love movies.This was entertaining and was well crafted.Sick and disturbing I really didn't get this from this film.Serbian films still reins on top for me.For cinema shock value this is great.Didn't really push extreme as movies before it.Necromantik was worst.100 days of Sodom was way worst and let us not forget Dead girl.Director of this Melancholie der Engel good job sir and please come with more.

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    1. Hello "Hell". Thank You for writing. I would respectfully disagree that A SERBIAN FILM was worse, though it's definitely the next nastiest film I've ever seen, in my opinion. Followed closely by SNUFF 102 and PHILOSOPHY OF A KNIFE.

      And certainly Jog Buttgereit's NEKROMANTIK is a walk-in-the-park for most horror fans, because of the less-than-realistic effects used at the time of the film's creation. (Though that's not a condemnation of the film, by any means, as I think it's a great piece of movie-making.)

      I've not seen 100 DAYS OF SODOM, but if you mean Pasolini's SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM, I also don't feel it's as disturbing or uncomfortable to view as MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL. Not by a long shot!

      But, each to their own. Still, I think for the majority of extreme cinema fans, this IS a film, that pushes them right to the very edge of tolerance. Even if it were English Subtitled, shorter in duration, etc, the content is that extreme, that it is unlikely to be beaten anytime soon. And to be honest, I hope no one does try and top it!

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  4. I actually found a torrent version with english subtitles. The dialog definitely lends to the cinematic experience of this film. Though It is somewhat slow to start, once it takes off, hold on tight. The music added a whole other element to the film as well. It's haunting. The way it is shot is beautiful in some scenes, but adds a filth to the film that cant be scrubbed away. The vomiting, pissing and defecation were all real as it get as well as the animal cruelty. This movie borders the line of pornographic throughout in many scenes and should be watched with extreme caution. It wasn't shocking to me being that I have exposed myself to so much over the years, but it definitely has a touch of evil to it that will sicken and effect most who attempt to view it who are not accustomed to such depravity.

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    1. Dear Hordesovblack. Thanks for commenting. I can never condone anyone downloading films from the internet, even - as in this case - the film comes with an English Subtitle track that would make understanding the film a lot easier. It's illegal. It's immoral. And it's damaging to all film-makers, as they lose money. Putting that issue to one side, I can certainly understand why you downloaded it with English Subs. However, it does appear that whichever version someone watches, this film is not a walk in the park, and could actually send most horror fans over the proverbial edge. And you are right! There are scenes in this film, that I really wish I'd never known about. But, then, that's part of the point of film's like this. I think all of the comments people have posted are pretty much in agreement with me, that this film is pretty much the one that does go too far. Maybe we should all take a lesson from that? Cheers!

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  5. Hello, thanks for the movie review. I finally found someone able to put some reality to this film. Spoilers come welcome to me. I NEED to know what a movie is about so I can decide whether to watch or not. Its an art film, true. Real animal deaths, I pray NOT. On that, and that alone, I decided NOT to view it. Call me a sicko but that's where I've crossed to line: realism of animal deaths/torture/abuse for "art" fake or simulated. I'm okay for the "shock" of human excrement or urination on other ppl as it doesn't seem to affect me, I've changed runny diapers and having a baby boy, got a face full of peepee one time. The aborted fetus, well I had a misscarriage and using it for "shocking" audiences just makes me depressed that that line was crossed. I believe only some who have experienced an abortion or misscarriage will likely be hit harder than others by such scenes but hopefully know the difference between a real n simulated fetus. Thanks again for the film info but I've decided to skip this movie, Germany will make money from me for drinking just their imported beers, not films.

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    1. Hi Maria.

      Thanks for posting your comments. First of all let me say, I'm sorry to hear that you have miscarried. I can't imagine what that must feel like, but my sympathies and condolences to you, nonetheless. I would disagree with you when you say: "I believe only some who have experienced an abortion or misscarriage will likely be hit harder than others by such scenes". I think people can be affected by different things, irrespective of whether they have any real-life experience of it or not. None of us need to know what being decapitated might be like, to know that it's not going to be very nice. Likewise, a plane or car crash. However, I understand where you are cominig from.

      I would also disagree with you about "I've decided to skip this movie, Germany will make money from me for drinking just their imported beers, not films." I don't think it is fair for anyone to belittle an entire country's filmic output, based purely on one film. Germany has made some of the greatest pieces of cinema in the world. If I were to slate it, purely because of MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL, then I'd have to berate Serbia for A SERBIAN FILM, and Spain for releasing SNUFF 102, or the USA for releasing THE VOMIT DOLLS TRILOGY as well. That would neither be fair, nor just. Berate the director, by all means, (if they make a film you vehemently disagree with), but not the country.

      Lastly, you aren't a "sicko" for not wanting to watch animal deaths of any kind in a fictional film. Most people can't and won't. However, there's a massive difference to me between someone faking harm to an animal, and someone actually causing harm to an animal for their movie. If we all decided not to watch film's that featured simulated violence, then we'd also have to stop viewing works that featured simulated human violence too. You can't really say that simulated violence against an animal, is worse than simulated violence towards a human. The key term here is simulated. As much as we humans love to treat animals as pets, the fact is, we kill animals everyday. We farm animals for milk, and for meat. Is that wrong? Maybe, maybe not. Once an animal has died (of natural causes), we might also use its fur or skin for producing leather clothing or footwear. Would that be wrong also?

      Unfortunately, most human beings - myself included - are hypocrits at the best of times. We'll demand that animals shouldn't be mistreated for films, but we'll happily lock-up a dog in a car with an open window, whilst we go shopping, or keep cats as indoors-only pets. Both could be argued as mistreatment of animals. Yet, how many of us eat milk, meat, eggs, etc? As I say, humans are hypocrits! Still, Thank You for writing in! I hope you will continue to read my articles.

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  6. I have only one question. Is the animal cruelty real? Just saying i havent seen this one though but in a movie from 2009...this for me is fucking sick. I mean doesnt Germany have laws against this and they can be arrested? I can watch almost everything in a horror movie but if this is real it goes to far, but i also think its a big difference of keeping a cat indoors and torture it in a movie for entertainment like you said. If we are gonna talk about Serbian movie, nothing in it is real even tho its very graffic.

    Im sorry for my bad English, but anyway great article and interesting to read.

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    1. Hi Squezer,

      Thank You for posting a comment on my blog, and I'm pleased you enjoyed my article. (Your English is fine, by-the-way.) The simple answer to your question, is I'm honestly not sure if the animal cruelty is real or not. It looks real, and it feels real. But I honestly don't know if it is or isn't.

      The director has done interviews in Germany, saying that the cruelty was real in one interview, and that the animal cruelty was faked, in another. So, the answer is, I can't give you a proper answer, because we simply do not know.

      Animal Cruelty is punishable in most countries, and certainly if you kill/injur an animal purely for the purposes of entertainment. But some people will argue that insects are also animals, and people routinely kill them and kill them on film. However, two wrongs don't make a right.

      Alas, I doubt we will ever know if the animal killings are real or not, but if you are averse to such scenes, then please don't watch MELANCHOLIE DER ENGEL!

      Sometimes, ignorance is bliss!

      Thanks again, for your comments.

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  7. marian clearly likes snails : D he would never harm animals..btw.dont confuse disgust with contempt...
    a proper translation sure would help to get u understand the for me most beutifull movie i ever see..unfortunatly its so complex that it cant even be proper translated in english...since u still wont get the ..local.. meanings... u have to kinda study it...

    btw. me personally thinks marian is some kind of a forensic? pathologic? (btw. its easy to fake animal cruilty realistic : P) psychiater : _D..or in other word..its nearly unbeliavable one could do such masterwork..it screams as if whole universitys have done this or the secret service lol

    under the circumstances of the actuall reallity.. this movie is a perfect 10

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    1. Hi Spori,

      Thank You for taking time to post a comment. You say the director would never harm animals. Can you back that comment up with any evidence at all, please? Whilst someone may say they love animals and wouldn't harm them, that doesn't mean that same person actually won't (or would never) actually harm an animal. So, unless you can provide some kind of other evidence, I don't think it's fair to say that he would never harm an animal.

      Secondly, you mention about how easy it is to fake animal cruelty. Whilst you are correct, the fact remains there have been interviews with Dora, on the film's release, in which he has said he DID kill animals, and other interviews in which he has said he definitely DID NOT kill them. Which interview is the viewer meant to believe? Therein lies the problem with this film. If there's even the remotest semblance of a chance that an animal was harmed for the film, then I want no part of it, and such a film does not warrant people's time or attention.

      As for the film being a "masterwork", I think I will respectfully disagree with you there. It's not perfect, though it is an audacious work. But it's not one I can recommend or can confidently say I liked it, because I found sickeningly repugnant and odious in almost every aspect - and I don't mean that view in a positive way! The film is reprehensible, and thus, my review should be a warning to people of what they are to expect, if they choose to view it!

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