By Merle Bertrand | June 27, 2000

It’s nice to see that the environmental movement has spread to the world of short filmmakers. Director Dante Tomaselli has already submitted a twenty-two minute film called “Desecration,” which I reviewed rather harshly a few months ago. Regardless of whether this is a promotional trailer for that short, another even shorter film, or a music video, Tomaselli must be pro-recycling, because he’s culled this four minute film from at least some of the same footage and re-used the same title. Aw, hell, why not? It’s there and it’s paid for. More to the point, this version of “Desecration” is an entirely different — and far superior — use of the footage than the twenty-two minute short.
This whole film consists of a single creepy, haunting, vaguely sexually-charged-in-a-disturbing-way scene. A young man, wearing only a diaper, lies curled up on the floor inside a metal cage; the room clearly dressed as a toddler’s room. Tomaselli slowly pushes in on the prisoner, intercutting this with a woman’s stiletto heels approaching the cage. The camera pans up a pair of shapely legs to settle on an attractive woman, presumably the young man’s mother, staring at him in wide-eyed dominance. Norman Bates, eat your heart out.
While the longer version of “Desecration” deals primarily, if impenetrably, with religious themes, this four-minute cut, set only to eerily effective music, is a concentrated Oedipal study. Like its longer cousin, this version of “Desecration” is a provocative feast for the eye. Unlike the other muddled version, however, this is a haunting film by virtue of its totally unresolved set-up. The situation these characters find themselves in is not wholesome and clearly not very pleasant. But it is intriguing and captivating, which is more than can be said for other recycled items like, say, motor oil.

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