Film Review: Art/Crime (2011)

SYNOPSIS:

A documentary about violence, horror, censorship and legislation on the web. In 2009, Remy Couture, a special effects makeup artists from Quebec was arrested by the police right in front of his home and would be later charged with obscenity and corruption of morality. Montreal’s police was responding to a complaint regarding pictures coming from his website Inner depravity.com which had been freely circulating on the Web. ART/CRIME discusses violence, fiction and censorship in movies but also in the loosely regulated environment that the Web still represents. The documentary allows many, like movie director Nacho Cerda, Robert Morin and Patrick Senechal to present their thoughts on the matter

REVIEW:

Art/Crime is a story/documentary about the creator Remy Couture who had decided to take his fascination with art, photography, fx work, and violence all under one roof with a web site under the title of innerdepravity.com. At the time, dark imagery was still making its way into the circuit, so alot was assumed to be real or of “snuff” origins. Remy, a talented artist and fantastic makeup technician created some of the most unsettling special effects images set to photos and screen by keeping things simple with a few short films that depicted a masked man torturing and killing his victims on camera.

After we hear his story, we are taken into the behind the scenes of his process and history in creating the films and the great props that helped to contribute a certain unsettling air of realism to his work. Actresses are interviewed and shown in mid process as all sorts of decomposed makeup schemes are presented for Remy’s projects.

Typically, a documentary wouldn’t fall into the “extreme cinema” category though by default since this particular documentary interlaces sections of his 2 short films into this program, your still inundated with the same level of content in sections. It also features some portions of the extreme film “Aftermath” which is used when Remy is describing one of his earlier influences.

“Art/ Crime” does carry on feature length but at times feels more like it could have been a series of behind the scenes segments and interviews that “accompany” a feature.

The film migrates from a feature of Remys work into a legal case narration that has several individuals detailing the issues with freedom of expression, the laws and how Remy has quickly become a model example (scape goat, if I may)on how inernt freedom may change in the future. It’s actually an important cae in the fact that the rulings on this outcome may influence other like situations into he future. With the 2 shorts already removed from InnerDepravity.com, its clear that a message is being sent to others about what “society” is finding acceptable and what crosses the line in being accessible.

One takeaway I got from this film, is that “Art/Crime” itself is a validation of Remy’s work being fiction and the product of taking one’s interests into an assume form of realism. After all, as its pointed out, isn’t “that” a validation of one’s talent? After viewing the 2 shorts, as separate reviews, I can attest that Remy’s experimental projects are violent and gory, however they are nothing that hasn’t been explored and showcased already on the bug screen. Take the 2 Hostel films for example, or the run of “saw” films which introduce some of the same, just done in a higher more sensationalistic budget. The missing factor being that Remy’s work also incorporates sexual deviancy into sections. However still as seen in “Art/crime” these are simulated as well. The validation is backed up with several of the actors and women involved who explained that the InnerDepravity films were fiction, AND something they volunteered willingly to do.

As I type this review, the trial of Remy Couture still continues at the Montreal, Quebec courthouse. We get a cameo from the authorities involved and the participants of this case. Under arrest, Remy is charged with “Moral Corruption through propagation of obscene material”. The acts themselves are “at first” believed to be authentic, which sets the whole she-bang underway.

On a whole, “Art/Crime” is more than a feature of the artist’s work, it’s a statement about how and why the powers that “be” want to gain control over internet content and define what is acceptable “even” from an artistic perspective. The web site details “If the court finds him guilty, this will mean the end of your freedom of expression, for generations to come.” in relation to this statement.

Art/Crime” doesn’t fall into the category of award winning documentaries, but it does serve as a message vehicle from the artists perspective about where we are headed. In short, it’s like they have said for decades…if you don’t like what you are watching, turn the channel (or in this case, go to another web sites), the choice to view, experience and participate in the artist’s work is yours alone.

You can learn more about the film or inquire on a copy per the web site http://www.artcrimefilm.com/. The film does have English subtitles which is spoken mainly in French. Art/Crime is created by Frédérick Maheux and features interviews with Nacho Cerdà, Rémy Couture, Joseph Elfassi and Rue Morgue Magazine’s Rodrigo Gudino.

Art/Crime (2011)

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