First Casket, Secret Casket (Flim Review for a Non-Existent Flim)
First Casket, Secret Casket is new film about a benighted romance between a Cuban-American sugar cane harvester and a seldom-acknowledged singer in a punk band. The former is a political pessimist spewing the obloquies of the late 1970’s to an uncaring world, while the latter belches and squelches profane lyrics—beneath a rapturous red gravity-defying mohawk—in and around Miami’s Little Havana.
The film is liberally intercut with outtakes from Scarface, but with all of Al Pacino’s scenes excised. Pacino’s dialogue is left extant—resulting in 2 hours of clear or black leader interspersed with the scenes from the 1983 remake.
Remarkably, the director achieves this without cleaning the film gate during filming—and, in fact, purposefully gunked-up the internal camera woks, during shooting. Resulting in layers of chapped celluloid and incidental detritus building up on the images, creating a Brakhage-like palimpsest redolent with possibilities, but ultimately imbued with failure.
The layered soundtrack which is a random assemblage of Mr. Pacino’s laughably poor take on a Cuban accent mixed with found recordings of the internecine tactical meetings of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the proceedings of Miami-Dade County traffic court, and Balinese gamelan rhythms prove exultant—like aural toxic shock.
Imagine subcontracting your prefrontal cortex to fermented fizzy lifting drinks. It’s genius. The film’s lone redeeming feature.
Here, we are introduced to the masterful intimations of boilerplate pop constructions at their logical end. Imagine dipping a $75,000 fur into a punch bowl of Sunkist and Pop Rocks—it’s that astoundingly effervescent, empty, and bereft of any trace of intellectual heft.
Do you remember the 18-minute gap in the Watergate tapes? It’s nothing like that—nowhere near as satisfying.
The story of a recent migrant to the land of rape and money is seen as dredger seduction—all disco, punk, and inflationary pressures without the cowbell and horn flourishes, 3-chord anarchy, or regulatory meddling by the Fed.
This film is analogous to Ed Wood meets Jean-Luc Godard—both on their lowest “off-days.” If you recall Godard’s observation: “It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to,” you’ll find the raison d’ê·tre for this epic voidoid—without the justification.
The film is a stunt by a timpanist who lost his pen, and a teapot without a dome or the scandal. Bound for the shredder and the kickback bins of film history.
What I’m Reading:
“Poem in which I have a father.
Poem in which I care.
Poem in which I am from another country.
Poem in which I Spanish.”
— Paola Capó-Garcia / “Poem in Which I Only Use Vowels”