Digital Gym Cinema hosts bold visionary films

Spend the weekend at the Digital Gym Cinema, where you can find a couple of boldly visionary films in “Mad God” and “Neptune Frost”.

Bold visions of “Mad God” and “Neptune Frost”

Phil Tippett’s “Mad God”

Phil Tippetts’ “Mad God” opens with what appears to be God’s wrath descending on the Tower of Babel. But we also feel like we’re entering Dante’s hellish circles. However you want to play it, “Mad God” is a dark vision of hell, religion and an angry divinity.

RELATED Cinema Junkie Bonus Episode: Bold Visionaries

The world of “Mad God” is completely rendered in stop motion animation. Tippett started the project 30 years ago and had to run multiple Kickstarter campaigns and tap friends and colleagues to finally get it done.
Stop-motion animation, Tippett’s specialty (think AT-ATs in “The Empire Strikes Back” or ED-209 in “Robocop”), requires physically manipulating objects in small increments between individually photographed frames. It takes patience and skill, but, Tippett said, “for mere mortals, it’s like watching grass grow.”

But Tippett is no mere mortal. The Oscar-winning effects artist is himself something of a mad god, but less in the sense of wrathful and more like a madman in pursuit of his art than he is. Making the film had an emotional impact on him.

“He was no different from Captain Ahab and Moby Dick,” Tippett said. “I went down with the whale and ended up in a psychiatric ward for a few days and then recovered for about six weeks until I recovered.”

Mad God by Phil Tippett – Official Teaser Trailer (2021)

But the film turns out to be his magnum opus. It is a wordless tale of a descent into hell. It is a fevered dream that combines madness, chaos, despair and beauty.

Tippett said much of the story emerged from his own dreams.

“One of my intentions was to create the illusion of a dream where so much information is gathered, let’s say, in a four second shot (that) it’s impossible to absorb all that information, and then, when the shot arrives next, the previous one vanishes because now there is so much more to see “.

Each frame is packed with detail, revealing the influence of Dutch painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel. The end result is something sombre and dark but also wonderfully seductive in its meticulous craftsmanship.

“Mad God” will play Friday through Monday at the Digital Gym Cinema and host the Sunday matinee at 1pm with Film Geeks SD.

Neptune Frost – Official Trailer

‘Neptune frost’

More daring and visionary work is on display in “Neptune Frost”.

Directed by poet Saul Williams and Rwandan director Anisia Uzeyman, “Neptune Frost” is classified as an afrofuturist musical, with which Williams somewhat agrees.

“I would say that the term afrofuturism has been a useful tool for people to learn how to articulate what they are experiencing when they are experiencing a film that projects ideas of the black experience that is not necessarily related to the oppressive or colonial or imperialist past,” he said. said Williams.

Kino Lorber

“Neptune Frost”, directed by Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman, offers an afrofuturist musical.

“Neptune Frost” is a cinematic poem that offers a radically different and visually stunning window into the Black experience. It is a science fiction musical filmed in Rwanda with an entirely Rwandan and Burundian cast and crew.

“It’s the invention of a language that is cohesive to me, that paints a kind of surreality in an ordinary world. So it’s ethereal, but it’s epic at the same time. And I thought we could swing between intimacy and more choreography and a ‘ wide range of shots. So it’s really the story and the music that they brought, and it’s also a journey. So you also accompany, you are walking with people who are going through a very important journey, “Uzeyman said.

There is a lot of universal about the film, but it also presents a point of view not often seen in mainstream Hollywood films.

“Seeing a story that celebrates black skin and black joy while also dancing through our relationship with technology and showing this sense of power that our characters are entering, I think, can be divine enlightenment for any Western viewer. “Williams said.


Kino Lorber

“Neptune Frost” is a new film by poet Saul Williams and Rwandan director Anisia Uzeyman.

And it is told in a bold style that Hollywood is too conservative to employ it. Both “Neptune Frost” and “Mad God” are wildly original artistic visions. It’s the kinds of movies that make me dizzy with excitement about the potential of cinema.

“Neptune Frost” will be screened until Thursday at the Digital Gym Cinema. The screening on Monday at 1pm will see LaWana Richmond, co-founder of the Afrofuturism Lounge in San Diego, providing an introduction and discussion on film and Afrofuturism.