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.
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’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:
Follow Jack Sargeant’s work on:
Follow R J Dent’s work on: