is time to play “know your cuts of meat” or maybe rather “know your antisocial
fetishes.” Either way, it will take place in a butcher’s shop. That usually
means trouble in the movies and it is especially so in this Dutch establishment.
Sex and death are both going on in the backroom during Victor Niuwenhuijs &
Maaartje Seyferth’s Meat (not safe for
anywhere trailer here),
which releases today on VOD from Artsploitation.
back in 2010, Meat opened in Holland
and scandalized the genre festival circuit. Then it effectively disappeared for
North American audiences, because it really required an aesthetically fearless
distributor like Artsploitation to get behind—so here it is now. We do not
believe in trigger warnings, but pretty much all of them apply to Meat.
has a delightful part-time job in the boucherie getting sexually harassed by
the unnamed butcher (at least he doesn’t look so bad compared to her abusive Turkish
boyfriend, who has been stringing her along). The shop is relatively peaceful
when the Butcher is making love to his prostitute wife in the meat locker, but
the mood turns sour when she opens cavorts with her pimp. Despite his appalling
behavior, Roxy is still down with Team Butcher, so she is quite distressed when
the old man is apparently murdered.
make matters even more surreal, the case is assigned to the soon to retire
Inspector Mann, who might be the worst cop in Holland and also happens to be
the spitting image of the Butcher. Naturally Roxie becomes the prime suspect,
but Mann, Niuwenhuijs, and Seyferth are about as forthcoming on details of the
crime as an Alain Robbe-Grillet novel.
mixing the sordid exploitation of the most shocking grindhouse movies with the postmodern
intellectualism of art house cinema at its most severe, Meat has something to alienate just about everyone. Yet, it has to
be respected as a fearless work of auteurist cinema. Deliberately setting out
to unnerve and discomfort viewers, Niuwenhuijs & Seyferth succeed
smashingly. While The Cook, the Thief,
His Wife & Her Lover obviously provided inspiration, Meat’s excesses are all its own.
Titus Muizelaar gives a remarkable dual performance as the Inspector and the
Butcher, until they eventually blend back together—or whatever. Nellie Benner’s
portrayal of Roxy is also jaw-droppingly fearless. We are talking about some
truly raw and exposed work here from all parties.
Clearly, Niuwenhuijs & Seyferth are engaging
with all connotations of the word meat, especially the carnal and carnivorous.
It is does not always work. Frankly, Roxie’s compulsion to film all the
outrages with her hand held camera was already a shopworn indie convention in
the 1990s. Ultimately it just becomes too obscure for its own good down the
stretch, but for the most part, there is merit and method to its madness.
Recommended for the hardiest of cineastes who just want to see it for
themselves, Meat is now available on
VOD platforms, including Vimeo, from Artsploitation.
Labels: Cult cinema, Dual roles, Dutch cinema, VOD