The Three Trials

I asked my friend Randy Greif about his new film, The Three Trials. I saw the screening last Friday, and built the website for him. Check it out, there’s photos, music clips, two trailers, and more. The movie is hallucinogenic, abstract, kinky, darkly humorous, with segments that are almost experimental music videos.

The Three Trials film. Fox

Avant/experimental music fans will know Randy from his Swinging Axe music label. He’s been recording since the 80’s, this is his first film.

1) What’s the movie about? What genre?

Oh boy–you start with the tough questions first. And in the case of this film, I’m not being sarcastic. It is three intertwined and overlapping stories of a woman in search of devotion to an idea or faith. It is also the fantasies of a psychotic housewife. The story-line, on the surface plays out as an absurd, but very dark, comedy, slipping around in locations and eras, and involves masochistic priests, shadowy religious figures dwelling in industrial basements, a yeti-like creature who evolves into a plastic surgeon, a woman who has never left “the castle”, and a group of body manipulators who perform a bloody ritual with meat hooks. I think I’ve probably answered the “genre” question by now…

2) What are you trying to do with the film?

I’m trying to create a film that is as much about sensory experience as it is narrative. It’s continuously digressing into non-verbal, almost music video scenes, and abstract imagery. I wanted to push the envelope a little and take the absurd sexual content further than the usual quick cut-away we see in films, especially American films. My background really comes from music, which plays a big part. So many friends and acquaintances from the world of experimental or avant-garde music allowed me to use tracks of theirs in the film.

3) Tech details, how shot, what software, etc.

It was shot on digital video with a Panasonic DVX which shoots at 24 frames per second for more of that “film look.” It was edited and color corrected on Final Cut Pro.

4) Influences?

When I was in pre-production, I was looking for something to give crew and cast an idea of the surreal and abstract quality I was going for, so I mentioned films such as David Lynch’s “Eraserhead”, Matthew Barney’s “Cremaster” cycle and the short films of the Brothers Quay. A big influence was certainly Bunuel’s “Belle du Jour” and also Polanski’s “Repulsion” and Welles’ “The Trial”. Stylistically, though, the movie evolves from a slower pace with longer shots and muted colors to a fast pace and saturated look of a Takashi Miike film. During the long process of editing, I had a chance to see “Natural Born Killers” again and realized that subconsciously that film must have had a strong influence with it’s barrage editing, clash of styles, and hallucinogenic tangents.

5) Who is the audience?

I think there will be several different groups of people who may be interested in seeing this. One would be the arty crowd who is looking for something unique, surreal, abstract. Then there are those that will see this film primarily because they are fans of the people who provided music tracks, such as Nurse With Wound, Lustmord, SPK, Rapoon, Nocturnal Emissions, Controlled Bleeding, Illusion Of Safety, Skin Chamber, Muslimgauze, and Colorblind James Experience. I think the Burning Man crowd will love watching this at 1:00 AM under the influence of something or other. There is also plenty of nudity and kinky sex for those looking for that — like me.

6) How did you assemble such a disparate crew/cast ?

Once there were a core of people involved, they brought in friends who were willing to be a part of The Three Trials (usually for little or no pay) because they liked the idea of working on something that allowed them so much creativity and was such a different kind of project. People were saying things like, “You’ve got to see what was going on the set yesterday! Way over the top…” And the next shoot someone would just show up with a bunch of gear and professional experience to help out.

7) Any adventures while shooting?

Every single day was an adventure! When you’re primarily shooting on location, without permit, there’s a script calling for the most bizarre set of events, and there are a bunch of brave and insane actors and actresses, willing to push it to the next level–you’ve got a perfect recipe for adventure…

[tags] independent film, indie movies [/tags]

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