Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film by Jack Sargeant

April 16, 2016


Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film

by Jack Sargeant

Jack Sargeant’s new book, Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film is published by Amok Books and is dedicated to exploring Underground Film since 1999. Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film sees film-studies author Sargeant return to the physical, body-focused, extreme and transgressive films that first interested and intrigued him in the 1980s, when he wrote and published his first essays on cinema.

In Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film, Sargeant’s focus is on the historical, theoretical and philosophical content of the films he analyses. Starting with an exploration of the return to the shock of the body in underground film in the 1980s and the growth of underground film in the 1990s, Sargeant explores and defines an underground cinema that remains radical and contemporary, informing subcultures and independent cinema today.

Primarily focusing on a handful of key works by two award-winning underground filmmakers (Usama Alshaibi and Aryan Kaganof), Sargeant examines the desire – even the need – for a shocking bodily representations and interventions.

Punctuating his writing with philosophical analysis, and with explorations of areas as diverse as industrial culture, surrealism, butoh dance, fine art and medical fetishism, the book challenges the reader to examine the very nature of pleasure, of viewing and of experiencing cinema.

The American underground film scene from the late 70s, 80s and 90s has finally been carefully documented and analysed in Flesh And Excess, which contains a number of insights into the underground scene and situates it in a specific historical perspective.

Flesh and Excess is an important book. In it, a marginal world is discussed and explored in an incisive and intelligent manner. Several films that deal with excesses of the body are explored in almost forensic detail. The book deals with transgressive cinema, and so may not be for everybody, but for those who need a map through the lesser-charted waters of transgressive cinema this book is an informative, entertaining and challenging guide.

Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film is comprehensively illustrated throughout.

Book details:

ISBN-13: 978-1-878923-28-8

ISBN-10: 1-878923-28-5

Film /Filmmaking

$ 19.95/Paper

256 Pages

90 photo illustrations

Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film by Jack Sargeant is available at:

Here is a short book promo film featuring Jack Sargeant talking about Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film:




Flesh and Excess is a work of passionate scholarship. More than a history of transgressive cinema, Sargeant examines the persistence of underground art across generations, and the particular appeal of cinema that enfolds physical pleasures and horrors. It’s a clear-eyed and fascinating book.” — Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick and Where Art Belongs

“At last! This is now the definitive work on underground film.” — Jon Reiss, filmmaker and author of Think Outside the Box Office

 About Jack Sargeant:

Jack Sargeant by Claudia Herwig

Jack Sargeant by Claudia Herwig

Jack Sargeant’s most recent book is Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film. Previous titles include Against Control, Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground and Naked Lens: Beat Cinema. His writings on film and culture have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, and DVD releases, including the Throbbing Gristle DVD box set.

Jack Sargeant appears as an interviewee in the documentaries Blank City, The Advocate For Fagdom and Llik Your Idols, amongst others. He has lectured on underground film, beat culture, William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard and many other topics across the world. Jack is currently program director for the Revelation Film Festival.

Other books by Jack Sargeant:

Against Control (2014)

Naked Lens: Beat Cinema (2008)

Deathtripping: the Extreme Underground (2007)

No Focus: Punk On Film (with Chris Barber) (2006)

Bad Cop / Bad Cop (as editor) (2003)

Guns, Death, Terror (as editor) (2002)

Death Cults (as editor) (2002)

Lost Highways: A History of the Road Movie (with Stephanie Watson) (2000)

Cinema Contra Cinema (1999)

Suture 1 (1998)

Born Bad (1996)

Jack Sargeant’s books are available at:

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Almost Famous

June 22, 2014



Almost Famous is a 2000 comedy-drama film written, co-produced, and directed by Cameron Crowe, telling the coming-of-age story of a teenage journalist writing for Rolling Stone magazine while on the road with a fictitious 1970s rock band named Stillwater. The film is semi-autobiographical, Crowe himself having been a teenage writer for Rolling Stone.

The film received positive reviews, and received four Oscar nominations, with Crowe winning one for best original screenplay. It also earned the 2001 Grammy Award Best Compilation Soundtrack Album. Renowned film critic Roger Ebert hailed it the best film of the year.



The film is based on Cameron Crowe’s experiences touring with rock bands Poco, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Eagles, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. In a Rolling Stone article, he talks about how he lost his virginity, fell in love, and met his heroes, experiences that are shared by William, the main character in the film.

Crowe compiled an alternate version of the film for home video called Almost Famous: Untitled, which was a compilation of both released footage and his favorite deleted scenes. It runs for about forty minutes longer than the theatrical release and was subtitled “The Bootleg Cut“.





Patrick Fugit as William Miller

Michael Angarano as Young William

Billy Crudup as Russell Hammond

Frances McDormand as Elaine Miller

Kate Hudson as Penny Lane

Jason Lee as Jeff Bebe

Zooey Deschanel as Anita Miller

Anna Paquin as Polexia Aphrodisia

Fairuza Balk as Sapphire

Bijou Phillips as Estrella Starr

Noah Taylor as Dick Roswell

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs

Terry Chen as Ben Fong-Torres

Jay Baruchel as Vic Munoz

Jimmy Fallon as Dennis Hope

Rainn Wilson as David Felton

Mark Kozelek as Larry Fellows

Liz Stauber as Leslie Hammond

John Fedevich as Ed Vallencourt

Eric Stonestreet as Sheldon the Desk Clerk



Almost Famous – A Film by Cameron Crowe





In R J Dent’s Library – Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

October 23, 2013

A look in R J Dent’s library at Ken Kesey’s classic novel of institutional rebellion  – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.



In R J Dent’s Library – Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)


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In R J Dent’s Library – A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

October 20, 2013


A look in R J Dent’s library at A Clockwork Orange, a dystopian novella written in 1962 by Anthony Burgess and published in 1962.



In R J Dent’s Library – A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess


Text © R J Dent (2013)

Film © R J Dent (2013)


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In R J Dent’s Library – Jean M. Auel

October 6, 2013


A look in R J Dent’s library at the hugely successful Earth’s Children ™ series of six novels (starting with The Clan of the Cave Bear), written by Jean M. Auel.




In R J Dent’s Library – Jean M. Auel


Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

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In R J Dent’s Library – Anthony Burgess

October 3, 2013


A look in R J Dent’s library at the stories, essays, and novels of the author of A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess.



In R J Dent’s Library – Anthony Burgess


Text (c) R J Dent (2013) 

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

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In R J Dent’s Library – Derek Jarman

September 27, 2013


A look in R J Dent’s library at the works (screenplays, journals, diaries, essays, stories, paintings) of author, film-maker, set designer, gardener, artist and outspoken gay rights activist – Derek Jarman.

In R J Dent’s Library – Derek Jarman

Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

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In R J Dent’s Library – Ayn Rand

September 23, 2013



R J Dent takes a look in his library at the fiction and non-fiction works of the controversial Objectivist author, the novelist and philosopher – Ayn Rand.





In R J Dent’s Library – Ayn Rand

Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

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In R J Dent’s Library – Ian Fleming

September 23, 2013

R J Dent takes a look at the works of the creator of James Bond and the author of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Ian Fleming.

In R J Dent’s Library – Ian Fleming

Text (c) R J Dent (2013)

Film (c) R J Dent (2013)

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The Wicker Man

September 18, 2013

The Wicker Man is a 1973 British horror film directed by Robin Hardy and written by Anthony Shaffer. The film stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, and Britt Ekland. Paul Giovanni composed the soundtrack. The film is now considered a cult classic.

twm - poster

The Wicker Man original poster

Shaffer read David Pinner’s 1967 novel Ritual, in which a devout Christian policeman is called to investigate what appears to be the ritual murder of a young girl in a rural village. Shaffer decided that it would serve well as the source material for the project.

ritual - dp

Inspired by the basic scenario in Ritual, Shaffer wrote a screenplay which centres on the visit of Police Sergeant Neil Howie to the isolated island of Summerisle, in search of a missing girl the locals claim never existed. Howie, a devout Christian, is appalled to find that the inhabitants of the island practice a form of Celtic paganism.


Shaffer wanted the film to be ‘a little more literate’ than the average horror picture. The idea of a confrontation between a modern Christian and a remote, pagan community continued to intrigue Shaffer, who performed painstaking research on paganism. Working with director Robin Hardy, the film was conceived as presenting the pagan elements objectively and accurately, accompanied by authentic music and a believable, contemporary setting.


The image of the wicker man, which gave the filmmakers their title, was taken from a paragraph in The Gallic War, Julius Caesar’s account of his wars in what is now France. Caesar wrote:

‘The whole of the Gallic nation… believe that unless one human life is offered for another the power and presence of the immortal gods cannot be propitiated. They also hold state sacrifices of a similar kind. Some of them use huge images of the gods, and fill their limbs, which are woven from wicker, with living people. When these images are set on fire the people inside are engulfed in flames and killed. They believe that the gods are more pleased by such punishments when it is inflicted upon those who are caught engaged in theft or robbery or other crimes; but if there is a lack of people of this kind, they will even stoop to punishing the guiltless.’ (Julius Caesar, The Gallic War, 6.17).


The Wicker Man, released in 1973, became a cult classic. Hardy and Schaffer also collaborated on a novelization of their film.

twm - novel

In 2011, a spiritual sequel entitled The Wicker Tree was released.

wicker tree sd

It was directed by Robin Hardy, and featured an appearance by Christopher Lee. Hardy first published the story as a novel, under the name Cowboys for Christ.

cfc rh

First announced during April 2000, filming on The Wicker Tree began on 19 July 2009. It follows two young American Christian evangelists who travel to Scotland; like Neil Howie in The Wicker Man, the two Americans are virgins who encounter a pagan laird and his followers.

Here is a trailer: 



Those involved in the production of the film have given conflicting statements regarding the identity of Christopher Lee’s character, referred to only as ‘Old Gentleman’ in the credits Writer/director Robin Hardy has stated that the ambiguity was intentional, but that fans of The Wicker Man will immediately recognise Lee’s character as Lord Summerisle.


Recently, it was announced that a fully-restored print of The Wicker Man is due to be released on DVD as The Wicker Man (The Final Cut). Robin Hardy has confirmed this.


Here is a trailer:



The Wicker Man

(c) R J Dent 2013