Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film by Jack Sargeant

Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film

byJack Sargeant

Paperback | March 15, 2016

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Jack Sargeant''s first new book dedicated to underground film since 1999 sees the cult author return to the physical, body-focused and transgressive films that first seduced him. With Flesh & Excess: On Underground Film, the focus is now divided between the historical, theoretical and philosophical. Starting with an exploration of the return to the shock of the body in underground film in the 1980s and the growth of underground film in the ''90s, he explores and defines an underground cinema that remains radical and contemporary, informing subcultures and independent cinema today. Primarily focusing on a handful of key works by two award-winning underground filmmakers (Usama Alshaibi and Aryan Kaganof), Sargeant examines the the desire - even the need - for a shocking bodily representations and interventions. Punctuating his writing with philosophical analysis, explorations of areas as diverse as industrial culture, surrealism, butoh dance, fine art and medical fetishism, the book challenges the reader to examine the very nature of pleasure, of viewing and of experiencing cinema. Comprehensively illustrated throughout.
Title:Flesh and Excess: On Underground FilmFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:256 pages, 9 X 6 X 1 inShipping dimensions:256 pages, 9 X 6 X 1 inPublished:March 15, 2016Publisher:Amok BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1878923285

ISBN - 13:9781878923288

Appropriate for ages: All ages

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Read from the Book

Like the dog that returns sniffling and lapping to its own vomit, there is something of my own invariably cursed return in the text that follows, a return to, or re-emergence, or re-articulation, of fascinations, idées fixes and simple raw mania. This fascination with the largely uncharted areas of underground film has already inspired me to write three books and numerous essays in other volumes, journals and magazines. The almost pathological obsession with underground film, and indeed the wider notion of underground cultures (or undergrounds), emerges in part from the need to engage with that deemed or considered ''other'' whether aesthetically or culturally. A red-raw itching desire to source forms of communication that articulate, or attempt to articulate, that which remains otherwise excluded from what is generally considered to be polite discourse - whether by social convention, cultural mores or even psychoanalytic repression. Further, this urge remains tightly wrapped up in a desire to seek out new and unfamiliar forms of beauty. A fascination with new expressions and articulations that re-imagined existing forms or broke completely (or at least tried to) from traditional concepts of aesthetic convention. This obsession is motivated primarily by the endless possibilities that emerge from the underground. The central question that this project engages with relates to the use of shock within a selection of contemporary underground works, and in particular it focuses on the ways in which it can be related to the various transgressive representations of the human body. In particular shock is of interest because it relates to questions of intent, reception and reactions, whether those that may be culturally constructed or those that may be beyond psychological control. The body, and especially the way it may become broken down into constituent parts and fluids, is the primary focus in the works discussed here. Notions of sex, contamination, disease and rigorously policed borders and boundaries emerge repeatedly in these works, due perhaps to the AIDS crisis and concomitant social transformations regarding notions of purity and contamination. Also, these discourses touch on the changing articulation of fetishism and desire wherein that which may be understood to be a form or manifestation of ''perversity'' has emerged onto the screen.

Editorial Reviews

"Flesh and Excess is an engaging and heady read, a good introduction to neophytes, a grounded analysis for the skeptical, and a strong argument for continued exploration in the realms of underground film art." - Film International "Finely detailed and informative." -- Sight&Sound