This review was originally published on January 21, 2014…
Experimental filmmaker Steve Girard takes shock factor to new depths in his recent short WAWD AHP— possibly to the depths of hell—wherever that may be.
The fully loaded plot concerns a rapper in cornrows. Not content with rap alone, Mr. Cornrow is obsessed with making a movie. So what does he do to make this happen? He cuts off his head and proceeds to fornicate with said body part in the bathtub. Yes, you read this correctly.
From there (as if that isn’t enough…), the bifurcated artiste devolves into animation, and continues to the bottom of a waterway (I know not where exactly, but I’m assuming the River Styx on the way to you know where…), where we encounter a traveling lineup of body parts and fish-heads on human torsos. Hopefully, all of this is beginning to make sense—or as much sense as anything that lives in the imagination can.
So is WAWD AHP an art film, a speculative work based upon myth, or possibly religious lore, or something else? I’m reckoning all of the above, depending upon your interpretation and how far you’re willing to push your way into the most uncomfortable recesses of your mind. For those of us who are artists, we know that the creative process is never a comfortable thing and we often have to shut off our annoying intellect in favor of our primal urges, often located in our own private hell.
In my opinion, Steve Girard’s incendiary little film is severely vexing, deeply disturbing, extremely liberating, and highly intelligent (as in the explorations previously attempted by Dante Alighieri, John Milton, Jan Švankmajer—or, perhaps not…). However, these great strengths of mind, art and storytelling, are also Girard’s major weaknesses, in that WAWD AHP will not be loved or even remotely grasped by most viewers— and will most likely be off-putting.
At its very worst, the movie will be attractive to those interested only in matters directly on the film’s surface, and that would truly be a sin.