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Regissoren (The Director)

RegissorenposterDIRECTED BY: Ronny Carlsson
REVIEWED BY: Mario Dominick

Swedish underground filmmaker and head reviewer at Ronny Carlsson is a dedicated fan of splatter, extreme and art house horror. The past few short films he’s made combine all those elements and in recent years, I’ve found these particular subgenres of horror to be among my favorites. In 2009 and 2010, Ronny gave us his first two experimental shorts, Video Geisteskrank and My Monster. Video Geisteskrank was a tribute to the August Underground films from Fred Vogel and Toe Tag and it blended elements of the extreme torture subgenre and elements of David Lynch to create a very unique viewing experience. It was the first in what would be Ronny’s “Video Trilogy,” which then continued with My Monster, a film very much like its predecessor and also one that included a style similar to that of movies like the arthouse short Pig by Rozz Williams and Nico B. and E. Elias Merhige’s Begotten. Ronny has cited those two movies as influences on his work and he also cites the works from the New York Cinema of Transgression scene (including that of Zedd and Kern) to be influences as well.

Ronny had finally made Video Geisteskrank and My Monster available on a limited edition DVD in the last year entitled “Experimental Films from the Lense of a Shitty Camcorder.” This release included some other smaller shorts and projects he had done as well to make it an art house shorts compilation worthy of sitting on your shelf next to Criterion’s releases of the Stan Brakhage shorts collections. After that, Ronny gave us Recompence, a 40-minute short and his longest film up to that point, which was available on DVD as a limited pressing of 100 pieces. While Recompence was unrelated to the “Video Trilogy,” it featured the usual dream-like quality expected from Ronny’s films and had its bizarre and gruesome moments.

Now, Ronny gives us the final entry in the “Video Trilogy,” and that final entry is his first feature length movie (at 70 minutes), a film called Regissoren (which translates to “The Director”).

Regissoren is Ronny’s final effort from the “Shitty Camcorder” series and it’s essentially a movie about himself and the work he does as a filmmaker to make his dreams come to life. Experimental filmmaking is something that can at times be complex and challenging, and this film explores those challenges with a story told in a way only Ronny could tell it. He talks into a web cam, giving updates about his projects. He talks to other people about what it’s like to work with such little money and resources and what’s expected of these types of films by their audience. Also featured are various bizarre, haunting images and scenes that seem like they came right out of a Cronenberg picture with things like nasty-looking diseases and body tumors, a girl with a cassette recorder built into her back, and really fucked up “breast cancer” public service announcements. One of my favorite moments is Ronny having a discussion with a friend where they talk about what an audience’s reaction to a scene with nothing but a black picture and total silence for a few minutes would be like and then all of sudden the screen goes black then goes back to the conversation after five minutes, I believe. It was something very clever to say the least and definitely provides a challenge to us the viewers as to how we can endure nothing with dead silence for such a period of time. In many ways, I found it to be one of the most unsettling scenes.

Overall, I think Regissoren is an effective conclusion to the “Video Trilogy” and is one of Ronny’s most visually striking and thought provoking pieces yet.

Ronny currently has a limited edition DVD in the works. Keep your eyes on for further updates regarding this and Ronny’s other upcoming projects, including Dust Box.