January 26, 2017

"White people walked out of Kuso because it wasn't 50 years a slave, bye hoe."

Tweets Zachary Fox, who worked on the film, which is by the black artist Steven Ellison, AKA Flying Lotus. The film "Kuso" played at Sundance and a lot of people walked out. Presumably these were the same sort of Hollywood glamorous people who talk prettily about wanting to support black filmmakers. But what happens when those filmmakers do not stick to the conspicuously admired dutiful stories about the history of racism in America?
Kuso's official plot synopsis describes a collection of semi-connected short films that chronicle the lives of the mutated men, women and children of Los Angeles, after an earthquake...

Various scenes are said to feature a man having sex with a talking boil on a woman's neck, genital mutilation, and a doctor, played by George Clinton, who keeps a medicinal cockroach in his anus.
One reviewer, explaining the walkouts, said:
"Some folks stuck around after a woman chewed on concrete until her teeth disintegrated, but still peaced out when an alien creature force-yanked a foetus from another woman's womb (accompanied by a Mortal Kombat sound clip: 'Get over here!"), then smoked the tiny corpse."
It sounds awful, but Fox's tweet rang true.

MEANWHILE: A white actress has a scene where she just eats pie and the Sundance people were absolutely fascinated and can't stop talking about it.
... I thought it was oddly suspenseful. Rooney attacks that pie like a cake person, engineering such unusual fork scoops (she stabs the pie at least four times before each bite) that I started to wonder whether the actress had even ever seen a pie before. We all do weird things when dealing with grief, but I was tickled by the fact that Mara's bizarre pie-eating method still managed to leave the crust mostly intact....
And yes, I know, "The Help" had pie... and that was another one of those serious, instructive movies. The black characters were involved with pie in order to teach us a lesson about race in America. Where is the movie that expects us to fixate on a black actress eating pie as a way of revealing something about her deeply individual, personal problems?

48 comments:

Gahrie said...

So if white people won't watch a piece of crap that happened to be produced by a minority it is racism?

Isn't that racist?

Brando said...

What "rings true" about that tweet? Should they have sat through an awful film just because it's a black filmmaker? How about judging the film on its merits regardless of who made it?

Scott McGlasson said...

Why does it ring true?

Shouldn't a viewer be able to walk out of a dreadful movie regardless of the skin color of the maker? Have the Sundance people (indeed, not just some nebulous "sundace people", but the actual people that walked out) sat through similar material from white filmmakers? That's the only way what he's saying would really mean something bigoted is going on here.

Anglelyne said...

It sounds awful, but Fox's tweet rang true.

Huh?

YoungHegelian said...

'Cause nobody ever walked out of films like "Serbian Movie" & "Cannibal Holocaust" because everybody felt such a sense of white solidarity with the directors, amirite?

Damn honkies.

Yancey Ward said...

They probably walked out from sheer boredom. Anal dwelling medicinal pests are so yesterday.

Ann Althouse said...

@Gahrie

It is vulnerable to the cry of racism by the people who have a low threshold. I would accord any given individual the freedom to define his own terms here. It's a philosophical/political decision how low to set your racism detector.

There are a lot of horror movies, showing things that I'd never want to look at. The question is whether the same thing done by a white director or with white actors would be seen differently. I don't have enough information here.

But Fox's tweet is very meaningful to me, because what I see Hollywood doing is giving black people a special corner of filmmaking: serious dramas about America's racial problems.

I suspect that these movies are backed because Hollywood people are defending themselves against the charge of racism, and they don't absolving themselves when they can also preen about educating the white Americans they look down on.

But the test of inclusion is whether black filmmakers and actors can do all sorts of films and get freedom and respect in the same way that white people do.

That includes making really violent and gross horror films because that is what white people get to do.

I don't like those films, but they are made!

Ann Althouse said...

I like the way when I was answering Gahrie's question, a lot of you were asking the same question.

You have your answer.

Brando said...

"I suspect that these movies are backed because Hollywood people are defending themselves against the charge of racism, and they don't absolving themselves when they can also preen about educating the white Americans they look down on. "

That may very well be, but whites not flocking to see a lousy movie done by black filmmakers does not prove the point. If they had walked out of a well-done war movie, film noir, or horror film by a black direction, then that tweet might have resonance. But here it sounds like "hey if you think Colin Kaepernick is a tool, it must be because you only like black quarterbacks who know their place" rather than "maybe you just don't like tools".

Ann Althouse said...

I don't go to the movies, but I can see there are multiple sequels in the "torture porn" film series "Saw." There's also "Centipede," which I only know about from "South Park." I would NEVER go to see a movie like that. But I think black people should get an equal shot at making whatever the hell that genre is supposed to be.

John said...

From the brief description, I don't question people walking out.

I question them walking in in the first place. Did they have any idea what the movie was about?

As Ann says, some people like this kind of movie. Mostly teenagers. Most adults don't.

So now not liking a particular genre, when done by a black rather than a white artiste is racism?

Good to know. I am a horrid racist in so many dozens of other ways that one more really doesn't matter.

I do agree with the commenter. It sounds like Ann is saying people should sit through a horrible (subjectively) movie just because the director was black. That is horseshit if it is what she is saying.

John Henry

John Henry

Bay Area Guy said...

Yes, the white liberals at Sundance who walked out of this horror movie are racist. I agree!

Why are liberal film festivals such hotbeds of racism?

John said...

I see Ann clarified while I was posting. No argument from me that blacks should get an equal shot at financing horrible movies.

If they are not financially successful, they should not get more money.

Not talking about the occasional flop, I am talking about not getting money for flop after flop after flop just because they are black.

John Henry

Laslo Spatula said...

Maybe they should see Laslo Film's "Uncle Bennie Is Coming Home From Prison" instead.

Priemere showing at a Seattle Theater February 9.

Trailer here.

I am Laslo.

Rob said...

Horror movies aside, it appears that "peace out" is now an intransitive verb, with a full-fledged past tense: peaced out.

jaydub said...

Are you saying that only white people walked out of this film? That sounds like a smear against any other races in attendance, so the racism charge could hold water.

Anglelyne said...

AA: But the test of inclusion is whether black filmmakers and actors can do all sorts of films and get freedom and respect in the same way that white people do.

That includes making really violent and gross horror films because that is what white people get to do.


You seriously think that the people who walked out of that film walked out of it because the director was black, and that the same people would not have walked out of the same film if the director were white? (Or at least, you seriously think that's a plausible preliminary hypothesis for the walk out, absent further information.)

Sometimes I find your analysis of "racism" issues really bizarre.

David Begley said...

Four people walked out of the movie "Silence" when I saw it because it was too long and slow.

Brando said...

"You seriously think that the people who walked out of that film walked out of it because the director was black, and that the same people would not have walked out of the same film if the director were white? (Or at least, you seriously think that's a plausible preliminary hypothesis for the walk out, absent further information.)"

Exactly. Ann and the tweeter are making such leaps here they could try out for the U.S. Gymnastics team, if they were able to do so without gushing over the racial issues involved in modern sport.

Brando said...

"Maybe they should see Laslo Film's "Uncle Bennie Is Coming Home From Prison" instead."

And now I have a life goal to make sure this movie gets made...

Fernandinande said...

Laslo Spatula said...
Maybe they should see Laslo Film's "Uncle Bennie Is Coming Home From Prison" instead.


Too many stale pale males, so I "walked out" of that preview, in an internetty kinda way, just 2:05 after it started.

Bill Peschel said...

Perhaps it would be helpful to look at the trailer?

https://youtu.be/y2SqNx2wSns

Best line from the commenters: "So this is what it's like to take bath salts."

John said...

Does eating pie cause pharts?

John Henry

Bill Peschel said...

There were also people walking out of "Swiss Army Man" last year. Specifically because the corpse played by Daniel Radcliffe farted throughout the entire movie.

No word if this was considered bigotry against English actors or Gaseous-Americans.

John said...

Is the Bennie movie meant to be an homage to My dinner with Andre?

Phart in both cases. IMHO.

I am still looking for a set of My dinner with Andre action figures if anyone knows where I can score one.

John Henry

Francisco D said...

My sophomore HS English teacher told something that has stuck for nearly 50 years, "Good fiction requires the willing suspension of disbelief."

In other words, when we watch a movie or read fiction, we know that it is not real, but we get caught up in it, if it is well done. There is a lot of crap out there that is poorly written in my eyes, but delightful to others. I had no problem walking out of Titanic, A Knight's Tale, and some awful musical (Moulin Rouge?) with Nicole Kidman. Many people really liked those movies.

If almost everyone is walking out, I would bet that the movie is poorly written, acted and/or directed. That has nothing to do with race. It has to do with actors, writers and directors either having little talent or a bad few days.

MayBee said...

But Fox's tweet is very meaningful to me, because what I see Hollywood doing is giving black people a special corner of filmmaking: serious dramas about America's racial problems.

I agree with that, although Tyler Perry's genre is not based on racial problems.

MayBee said...

Perhaps they thought they were going to Kubo. Just one letter and a whole world different!

Brando said...

Also looks in the tags like Rooney Mara's name is listed backwards. It is difficult when someone has a last name for a first name.

Laslo Spatula said...

Brando said...
"Maybe they should see Laslo Film's "Uncle Bennie Is Coming Home From Prison" instead."

"And now I have a life goal to make sure this movie gets made..."

It IS made. Final edit to be finished this weekend. Premiere Feb 9 in Seattle.

Made on less than a shoestring. Maybe a stray piece of yarn.

And it does have a "My Dinner with Andre" vibe at times -- I've used that analogy a few times.

But it's been Laslo'ed.

Oh my, it's been Laslo'ed.

I am Laslo.

Trailer is about the only footage

n.n said...

A step away from the social complex narrative is one thing, and is in itself grounds for excommunication from the Pro-Choice Church. However, a graphic exposition of a baby trial, with a segue to clinical cannibalism, is intolerable. Most people would balk at direct confrontation with progressive liberalism. His integration of the Transgender Spectrum Disorder was masterful and depraved. As twilight yielded to dawn, and the tell-tale hearts beat ever louder, the cognitive dissonance must have been overwhelming.

Anglelyne said...

Brando: Exactly. Ann and the tweeter are making such leaps here they could try out for the U.S. Gymnastics team, if they were able to do so without gushing over the racial issues involved in modern sport.

But she does switch to trolling us in the addendum to this post, leaving us to puzzle out if she wasn't just trolling us from the start.

I can respect that.

Wilbur said...

Back when I went to picture shows, I only walked out of two:

Spaceballs - the most unfunny, witless piece of comedy on which I ever wasted 10 minutes.

Best Little Whorehouse in Texas - I had something more entertaining to do: flush out my car's radiator.

Brando said...

"It IS made. Final edit to be finished this weekend. Premiere Feb 9 in Seattle."

/checking last minute flights to Seattle...

"But she does switch to trolling us in the addendum to this post, leaving us to puzzle out if she wasn't just trolling us from the start."

Yeah, maybe Thursday is her "let's just screw with 'em all" day.

Brando said...

"Back when I went to picture shows, I only walked out of two:"

I'm more embarrassed at the ones I didn't walk out of. I have too high a tolerance for terrible movies.

rhhardin said...

Space Station 76 (2014) is amusing almost entirely due to the sets, a great send-up of the 70s decor in a space station. Minimal plot but not annoying. Liv Tyler is a dead ringer for Sandra Bullock in that hair style.

rhhardin said...

I've bailed out of many many DVDs. It's not protest but boredom or distaste for sitting through a plot line that I can see coming, e.g. guy takes up drinking, guy takes bad advice from know-it-all friends, etc. And almost any psychological drama. These all involve agony and really bad acting.

Jake said...

"It sounds awful, but Fox's tweet rang true."

True because people walked out, but not because the movie wasn't 12 years a slave. They walked out because the movie is likely wretchedly bad. Fox sounds like a complete dope.

"That includes making really violent and gross horror films because that is what white people get to do."

And people walk out of them without being labeled racist.

Gahrie said...

Spaceballs - the most unfunny, witless piece of comedy on which I ever wasted 10 minutes.

I absolutely agree....and this is coming from someone who thinks Brooks is a comic genius. I love Young Frankenstein, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and the History of the World part 1.

I Callahan said...

Under that twisted reasoning: I hate basketball, therefore, I'm a racist.

The description alone would have been enough for me to walk out. This is trash - trying to out-trash trash - and that's why people walked out.

Professor, you do have a very weird worldview when it comes to racial matters. Perhaps you're so sensitive to it that logic eludes you whenever these things come up.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...That includes making really violent and gross horror films because that is what white people get to do.

I don't like those films, but they are made!


So was this one, ma'am. They were screening the film, the film that was made, at this festival, right?
Made <> "given universal acclaim from white people." Right?
I get the point you're making, I really do--it's racist to segregate black filmmakers into only certain types of movies (or praising them for only making certain types of movies). Ok, sure. It does not follow from that, though, that this is an example of racism against these filmmakers (who did, in fact, get their film made!).
Knowing what we do, why isn't it just as likely that this is an instance of Fox herself being racist--assuming that white people left because they hate blacks but really they left because they disliked the movie/the movie is bad?
She's expressing a feeling that those people who left (and/or the film establishment) are racist. Maybe. As has happened before, though, you seem to find the woman's feelings very important (and likely indicative of a larger, real, problem). Lots of your commenters, I think, understand your point but put give less weight to her feelings.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It's racist to overpraise something because it's made by minorities.
It's racist to underpraise something because it's made by minorities.
There's some space right there in the middle, somewhere.
Theoretically.
(If someone feels like you've reacted in a racist way, though, there's no space. Never forget!)

William said...

Black people are significant, perhaps even the dominant players in sports and music. Is it possible that the music and sports industries are less biased than the movie industry or is it more likely that that's where the talents of black people are dominant?.......For obvious reasons I don't believe that it would be politic to make a slasher movie with a black protagonist. A black Jason or Freddie would not work to diminish racial tensions. That said, I recently saw the Miss Peregrine movie with Samuel Jackson. He plays the part of the villain who likes to rip the eyeballs of children out of their skulls and eat them. He's very good in the role. It can be done but the eyeball severing scenes must be handled with taste and discretion.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Isn't it a bit obtuse to pretend that people walked out over what it wasn't instead of what it was (which sounds revolting)

Jonathan Graehl said...

Original Star Wars kids in our family loved Spaceballs - plenty of juvenile humor - almost as much as Princess Bride (which is objectively better, I think).

openidname said...

Oooh, a bitch-slap-up inside the film festival bubble.

Wake me up when it's over and let me know which set of bitches won.

Jupiter said...

Ann Althouse said...

"But the test of inclusion is whether black filmmakers and actors can do all sorts of films and get freedom and respect in the same way that white people do."

Jesus, Althouse. Is there even any reason to suppose that the people walking out of this movie (which sounds really disgusting) had any idea what color the twisted idiot who made it was? And what's this about a "test of inclusion"? Who or what is being tested? The billionaire chicoms who are buying up Hollywood? The pretentious assholes who go to Sundance? There is an actual for-profit industry buried under all that star-studded crap, you know. Which other industries do you think should piss away tens of millions getting their inclusions tested by incompetent black people? Besides education, I mean?

Yancey Ward said...

Having been to Sundance once, I imagine the entire audience was white.