Sunday, 12 June 2011

DECODER (Muscha) [1984]

Decoder is a really bizarre cyberpunk movie from West Germany. It is notable for starring no real actors, having a new wave soundtrack from the likes of Einsturzende Neubauten and Soft Cell and featuring cameo appearances by counter-culture icons Christiane F., William S. Burroughs and Genesis P-Orridge.

The film is very much based on the writings of William S. Burroughs and those unfamiliar with his writings will find this a little hard to follow. In William S. Burroughs book The Job, he talks of how he shut down a coffee shop by recording the owners' voices on tapes (or something like that) and playing it back in inconveninet times. They went out of business. It's a long time since I've read it, I don't remember exactly! But I do remember him saying the tape recorder is a weapon of the electronic revolution  (play sound effects of riots and fighting and the cops the sound of gunshots and their guns are drawn, etc).

The film is lit mostly by neon hues and features some bizarre set pieces, such as a riot breaking out due to unsettling muzak being played in a burger restaurant, a sermon from King (Queen?) of weird Genesis P-Orridge and a woman who really likes frogs (!?) it's pretty strange, but as it has a very short runtime it is quite entertaining.

I downloaded this from the internet years ago. It was a pretty shoddy VHS Rip (I think) with white lines at the sides where the frame didn't fill the whole picture and the back of the telecine is visible. This lends the film a real bootleg quality to it - as if the video itself is a tool for revolution. Finding it was near impossible as it was only released in Germany until last year when it got a DVD release.
I have not had the chance to check out the DVD and the screens above are from my downloaded copy.

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