Jared Hess is the New Pier Paolo Pasolini, Says New Yorker Writer


Jared Hess's latest film Gentlemen Broncos hasn't exactly thrilled the critics -- most of whom have dismissed the deeply weird and dishearteningly conventional gross-out comedy as the product of a shameless and immature mind -- but it does have its few, outspoken supporters. New York magazine's David Edelstein called it "enchantingly freakish." Leading critical contrarian Armond White gave it four out of five stars, deeming it "a totally instinctive [film] of complex, inchoate feelings." But when it comes to pure film theory chutzpah, nothing quite approaches NewYorker.com's Richard Brody, who defended the film ardently against the NY Times' Manohla Dargis' takedown, and in doing so likened devout Mormon Hess to Italy's high-art homoeroticist, the Pope of Perversion, Pier Paolo Pasolini:

[Benjamin (Michael Angarano) is] the author of a new gospel, and Hess's wondrously ingenuous filming of Benjamin's visions are both as sublime and as crudely carnal as scripture itself. The grotesque bodily functions, human, animal, and alien, that the movie depicts unflinchingly--as well as the "unpleasant, unattractive characters" Dargis says the film is filled with--are the point. It's easy to present the beautiful people and the scrubbed world as divine creations; Hess's vision sacralizes what other filmmakers don't. The director he's closest to in this regard is Pier Paolo Pasolini (and Pasolini, too, had an extraordinary sense of the naïve, the repellent, and the ridiculous).

We weren't quite able to bridge the chasm separating Sam Rockwell as a mincing, lisping space pirate on an intergalactic hunt for life-giving yeast (and a missing testicle), and Salò's quartet of fascist libertines torturing, raping and enacting their darkest, forced-poop-eating fantasies upon an ill-fated group of 18 teenagers. But at this point, Hess should probably take what he can get, even if that means accepting comparisons to a director whose films would earn their audiences permanent banishment from the state of Utah should they ever be discovered.

· Gentlemen Broncos Return [NewYorker.com]