The point of the monthly Playlist column is to gently guide you towards material you’re unlikely to find by chance. These films may currently be importable on expensive DVD, or as grainy bootlegs for hardcore connoisseurs, but they’re now available on the internet for a free taste of ‘intertainment’, to sample as casually as you would a tray of tasty cheese bites in a supermarket aisle.
Let’s start with Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli, who makes trailers for non-existent films. For his trailer for A Remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula (www.youtube.com), he somehow enlisted the talents of an A-List cast including Helen Mirren, Benico Del Toro, Gerry Butler, Milla Jovovich and even Courtney Love as Roman emperor Caligula. Playing somewhere between Warhol-esque parody and a dirty in-joke, it’s a strange promotional film for a product that exists only in the artist’s imagination.
Not all filmmakers are so reticent to actually make films. Maverick French auteur Claude Lelouch takes off like an idiot in 1975’s C’etait un Rendezvous (www.dailymotion.com), a ten minute short which unspools in one take as it records the view from the front of Lelouch’s Ferrari 365 Boxer as he burns rubber through the streets of Paris at dawn.
As if Lelouch’s arrogant disdain for the lives of innocent people didn’t make C’etait un Rendezvous a spiky enough watch, the knowledge that the director was arrested at the first screening of the film lends the digitised images of dangerous driving a genuine edge.
Settle down with the late, great Robert Altman’s favourite of his own films, Brewster McCloud (www.youtube.com). Shot immediately after M*A*S*H in 1970, Brewster McCloud opens with a brilliant postmodern visual joke involving Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz) singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, and it never lets up from there. Altman’s story about a boy (Harold and Maude’s Bud Cort) who imagines he can fly with homemade wings is a zesty, anti-authority satire which simply isn’t available anywhere. It’s yours to watch for free, and it would be nice to think that some internet attention might help Brewster McCloud get the proper release it deserves.