Christ, from watching the news recently you get the feeling that the whole world is falling apart, you see stocks crashing, parliament giving out public chastising’s in record numbers, greedy business’s. You might say ‘but where’s positive spirit?’
We can’t all be that greedy and materialistic.
But in the UK following the Olympics, a new James Bond film and the cracking of the American Billboard Charts – recently with Adele, and One Direction – all that negativity is a thing of the past, because here in Great Britain things aren’t diminishing – they’re flourishing. A new golden creative period has also embraced British independent cinema, proving that the most colourful ideas come with even more colourful characters.
Film director Fabrizio Federico has assembled a Sgt Pepper like cast of characters for his debut feature film Black Biscuit. A carnival of misfits, dreamers, and tumblers, a genuine ‘me and you’ of street superstars, a Phil Spector like wall of images seen through a kaleidoscope of ideas, sounds and life styles. Speaking to Fabrizio has been like listening to a modern shaman, and in the process you find out about beautiful ideas at a breakneck speed, which compliment his be here now philosophy, which is contagious. Maybe he’s right. Life might have gotten out of hand for the materialists, but for the masses things are beginning to turn on.
‘’Whenever I see something beautiful I film it, and it’s like capturing living stardust… Kind of like Wagners ‘Liebestod’ moment. That’s what I want to get across to people and a new generation of filmmakers, forget the rules and re-invent them as you go along, lets burn down the industries.’’
It could be Jean Luc Godard speaking circa 1967, before cinema became a blockbuster commodity, but it’s not. Since the 60’s independent cinema has become more dangerous not only in it’s aesthetic leanings but also as a tool to show the reality that mainstream culture hides.
‘’My doors of perception are wide open’’ says Federico. ‘’ I find it easier to forget about winning competitions, and commercial desires and concentrating on ripping open a new generation gap, I’m sick of safe films, Black Biscuit is a cinema riot, or a suicide mission, to shake things up.’’
Through the film is borne of this intense psychedelic reality, it’s also influenced by more contemplative and introspective forces. ‘’I don’t want to waste my life making money, I want to be creative till I die, Im alive during a great period in history and if people wanna make feature films get up and do it, you don’t even need a budget anymore. Cinema should be classless, all you need is determination and courage. The Pink8 manifesto was how I went about making the film, which cost around £500, I became a life model and donated blood when I needed money for such, other than that I shot it on mobile phones and children’s cameras. Critics consider me to be the worst film director in the UK, the biggest amateur. But I see myself as being fearless, subversive and playful… A brilliant failure.’’
Clearly Federico is in custody of a possessed mind. After surviving a house fire at age four his hungry mind started devouring poetry such as Arthur Rimbaud and the philosophy of Confucius. ‘’I just absorbed everything I could, art, books and especially film and music. I make punk cinema. Failure has always been more interesting to me than success, I feel it’s ambitious to be self indulgent’’.
Federico’s approach is both refreshing and volatile like napalm, after seeing the notorious Dennis Hopper film The Last Movie while living in Italy nothing was ever the same for him. ‘That movie made me want to be a filmmaker, it’s was like experiencing Vietnam or spitting blood, it knocked me out. I want to sprint through life and in Black Biscuit I wanted to talk about that period in peoples lives when your hanging out at the crossroads with the devil, just wasting time, so I cast street superstars such as homeless people, and prostitutes, and we just improvised everything. They are the beautiful people. I wanted to show the outlaws of society and how hypocritical it is having a career. I’m more interested in innocent chaos and the spiritual journey we make through life’’.
This approach is probably unsurprising considering his background and his affinity for the Situationist movement, but this type of madness has a purity that has been lost on mainstream directors, he is already working on his follow up film called Pregnant.
‘’It was shot in the Spanish deserts and focuses on not needing technology, and finding existential peace, I find relationships tough when we’re all spying on one another through Facebook and Twitter. I also want to capture the spirit of Richey Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers. It will be like a wild orchestra conducted by a cultural assassin.’’
It’s all part and parcel of the strange and whimsical world of the 21st Century. Fasten your seat belts.