Gentry offers a week’s worth of interesting diversions in the world of cinema, pop and art & culture…
The Film: BLACK WATER
Directed by David Nerlich & Andrew Trauki with Diana Glenn, Maeve Dermondy, Andy Rodoreda
Every once in a while Australia produces a particularly nasty little film. In 2000 in was the slash-happy Chopper, in 2005 we were happily subjected to the sinister road movie nightmare Wolf Creek, and this week we’re given an even more edgy slice of antipodean anxiety with the crocodile chiller Black Water. This low-fi movie perfectly exploits the simple, tense pleasures of horror: think Open Water but creepier, with shadowy beasts swooshing beneath the murk of an outback swamp. The characters are involving, even thoughtful and the mesmeric scenario ensures the film never slips too far either way of the fatal edge that is its central attraction. An undemanding but thoroughly successful genre piece, Black Water is a perfectly formed, thrilling excursion into the leathery heart of darkness.
The Record: EL GUINCHO – ALEGRANZA!
El Guincho’s rhythmically hyper-hypnotic album is full of the joyful hope that rises high with the sunshine of summer and simmers after it sets. There’s no way this could have been recorded on these gloomy shores – think of the digireal-staccato of Hot Chip without the ironic monotone – and perhaps only on a remote Spanish island, surrounded by a lapping aural-global-history. Alegranza! is an ecstatic dance record that ineffably fuses dub, afropop, tropicalia and even a touch of early rock n’ roll. This could well linger on to be the sound of the summer, a timely reminder that the world is probably, at its heart, a pretty groovy place. Full of invention, awe-inspiring simplicity and determined to have a good time, El Guincho (aka Pablo Díaz-Reixa) make the kind of music that, although totally of the moment, insists a kind of nostalgia – to what or where I am not sure – but emotionally it transports you to some pre-human state of formless, unbridled bliss.
Some party goers lose themselves hopelessly in the joy-tunnel of El Guincho:
The Read: MOBIUS DICK
Andrew Crumey (Picador)
A stunning, self-consuming literary detective novel obsessed with tail-chasing conundrums and existential riddles. This beguiling book, tragically underrated on its release a few years ago, is a playful and devious journey into the netherworld of mixed-messages and blurred meanings, recalling the work of Borges, Cortazar and Poe, not to mention the genre frameworks of Chandler, Hammet and Harlan Coben The intoxicating scenario – a theoretical physicist, John Ringer, receives a mysterious text message on his phone that simply says, “Call me: H”, setting off memories of a romance with a woman named Helen over 20 years ago – thrills on a narrative level and provokes a spiraling philosophical enquiry into the very nature of meaning and perception. A book well worth picking up, although, be warned, it will not only be hard to put down, it’s likely to pick you apart.
A review from the Guardian: http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/generalfiction/0,6121,1258449,00.html