This week on IFC News:
On the field of artistic freedom, it was quite sensational because there was nobody interfering with the way I wrote and filmed the script. There was nobody telling me "Too much nudity. Too much violence. This is politically incorrect. We should be careful. The audience won’t like this. Tone it down." In Los Angeles, people are so afraid to offend the audience that everything that is, in any way, a little bit dangerous is basically taken out of the script when you work for the studios. That didn’t happen here. When I started the first 10 years in the United States, working for these smaller companies like Orion and Carolco â€” where I did "Flesh + Blood," "Robocop," "Total Recall," "Basic Instinct," even "Showgirls" â€” that interference didn’t exist either. But slowly, as these companies all bankrupted and disappeared, I became more and more a part of the studio system. Then, of course, there was much more scrutiny from the top to not be too outrageous, and I’ve always been pretty outrageous. [laughs.]
On the podcast, we talk about what grind house theaters were really like, what they and the movies they showed have become in pop parlance, and where films like "Grindhouse" and "Hostel" fit in to exploitation film history.
Petit (who was a 70s film critic for Time Out in the UK) is strictly observational, whether it be via the unforgettably evocative roving-camera intro through the dead brother’s flat, set to Bowie‘s "Heroes," or the infinite variations on road-movie transcendentalism, as private car interiors are contrasted against the stark, inky landscapes through which they travel. Clues to history are honey-dripped throughout (a patch of glimpsed graffiti reads "Free Astrid Proll," a railroaded member of the Communist splinter group the Baader-Meinhof Gang), but "Radio On" itself is something of a historical marker â€” no film has ever captured that epochal time and place in more telling detail.
You can love him or hate him, but you can’t deny Verhoeven’s fearlessness, which borders on recklessness. He pushes himself and his audience. He tries an erection joke. He literally covers a character in shit. He humanizes some of the evil Nazis (who ultimately come to Rachel’s aid) and vilifies some of the heroic Resistance (who cover a character in shit). The most crucial line of dialogue may be the phrase "everyone has unknown depths"… except maybe for Verhoeven himself, whose darkness is up there on the screen for all the world to see.
And Christopher Bonet has the list of what’s new in theaters.