Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wholphin No. 11

Edited by Brent Hoff

I kind of fell off on my plan to work my way through every issue of Wholphin, the DVD magazine put together by the fine people at McSweeney's (I blame it on my new obsession with Storage Wars and other so bad it's addictive scripted reality shows on A&E).

Anyway, this issue has one of the best short films I've ever seen on a Wholphin - Ramin Bahrani's 'Plastic Bag'.  Bahrani is the director of the incredible independent film Chop Shop, and he turns the same passionate and meditative eye that he used in that movie to a plastic bag (voiced by Werner Herzog, which is both perfect and funny to me).  The bag is trying to return to the woman that first brought it home from the store - the love of his life.  It ends up in a landfill for a very long amount of time, after which there are no more people around anywhere.  The bag eventually makes its way to the Pacific Gyre, the vortex of plastic larger than the state of Texas that is currently having a catastrophic effect on the ocean's ecosystem.  This is a very intelligent and caring short, and I was very impressed by its power.

Also of note here were two shorts focused on the baseball player Dock Ellis.  One is an animated piece, which shows one of his LSD trips while playing professionally.  The other is an interview with him, wherein he talks about some of the things that players used to get away with.  The two pieces work very well together.

'The Six Dollar Fifty Man', directed by Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland is an interesting look at bullying in New Zealand, and features an incredibly disturbed looking child.  He creeped me out.  I was also creeped out by the women attending 'Bitch Academy' in Russia, where they are learning to get men.  Asshole men.

'Wagah' is an interesting documentary about the only border checkpoint between India and Pakistan, and the daily flag-lowering ceremony that attracts thousands of spectators.  There is a lot of ceremonial foot-stomping.

'Out of Our Minds' is a very disturbing and beautiful film.  It's directed by Tony Stone, from a concept that came from Melissa Auf Der Mer.  It connects three stories of death in the forest - one is a car wreck, another is about a Viking who is murdered, and the third has loggers cutting down trees which splatter blood everywhere.  This is a silent film, with pulsing music by Auf der Mer.  It's pretty fascinating, and gorgeous.

This DVD also shows us naked scientists running around Antarctica, shouting young lovers, and an actor hanging out with a bear.  Where other than Wholphin would you ever find such diversity?

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