“Sappho’s Overhead Projector” by Bonnie J. Morris— “Banned Books and the Women They Rescued”

Morris, Bonnie J. “Sappho’s Overhead Projector”, Bywater Books 2018,

“Banned Books and the Women They Rescued”

Amos Lassen

Hannah Stern is a feminist scholar working at the Library of Congress where her assignment is to catalogue a donation of rare lesbian books. This is more than a one-year job in Washington and she got job from Sappho, The Overhead Herself. A series of desperate, haunted phone calls from the ghosts of lesbian writers directs her to rescue even more at-risk books and Hannah embarks on a journey into the love affair between banned writers and newly-out readers. Now you should have a couple of questions here. Unless you are familiar with Bonnie Morris, you probably wonder who is this Sappho, the Overhead is and what is so important about the saving  of lesbian books from the 1920s and 1970s. Does the saving of these books guarantee a literary legacy for the writers?

In effect, what this book does is give us a look at the lesbian literary past in the form of a eulogy. Sometimes we think of remembering who we are, where we’ve come from and what we have contributed to modern culture when it is already too late. I have noticed that recently many cities are preserving their LGBT histories and it is a good thing as we move more and more into the world of technology. We are transferring information electronically as the art of latter writing dies. We forget that so much of our history comes from the exchange of letters.

There is a supernatural element to the story and this makes for more of a fun read (not that would not be a fun read without eat. The author has been involved in women’s studies programs for more than 20 years and we feel her love for the subject throughout her writing. Hannah gets a series of phone calls from the ghosts of lesbian writers and she complies by attempting to rescue all of the books that she can. There is also realism here in that the story is set in the Library of Congress and as we read, we realize the importance of our literary. heritage and how it must be preserved. (One of the reasons I decided to become a reviewer was for that that reason. If we are not aware of our literary heritage than it is not important. I see every book as being part of the history of our community). Bonnie Morris wrote this book to remind us if how we feel when we read about ourselves— and I use that term loosely.

Granted, I am not a woman nor a lesbian and you might think I would have a difficult time becoming involved in a story that has nothing to say about me, but the opposite is true, and I became involved on the very first page (yes, my M.A. is in Feminist Literary Criticism). In reading this story, we become involved in a community of women and we share their history, politics, sexuality and even their ideas about patriarchy that are still main points in how they live. We must remember, and this has always been my motto, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. The lesbian authors we meet here paved the way for how we live today. Morris brings history to life and she does so beautifully.

“The Fourth Reich: The Specter of Nazism from World War II to the Present” by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld— It Never Happened

Rosenfeld, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld. “The Fourth Reich: The Specter of Nazism from World War II to the Present”, Cambridge University Press, 2019.

It Never Happened

Amos Lassen

Ever since the collapse of the Third Reich, anxieties have persisted because of rumors about Nazism’s return in the form of a Fourth Reich. Gavriel D. Rosenfeld tells us (and for for the first time that these postwar nightmares of a future  never happened and explains what they tell us about life, politically, intellectually and culturally. We see how postwar German history might have been very different without the specter of the Fourth Reich as a mobilizing idea to combat the right-wing forces that threatened the Germany’s democratic order. Rosenfeld looks at the universalization of the Fourth Reich by left-wing radicals in the 1960s, its transformation into a source of pop culture entertainment in the 1970s, and its ultimate embrace by authoritarian populists and neo-Nazis seeking to attack the European Union since the year 2000. We now live in a right-wing world and this is what makes this book so relevant.

This a fascinating look at something that never happened. We see how people imagined how this would look. Writer Gavriel D. Rosenfeld is the pioneer of counterfactual history and what he has written is disturbing. We see that fears and fantasies about a new type of Nazi regime have preoccupied Western societies since 1945. Rosenfeld tales apart the dreams, anxieties, and speculations associated with the idea of a Fourth Reich. He explores the history of the Fourth Reich: while it never existed, fears that it might come about certainly did. We see these as well as their political context and cultural expression. It cannot be easy to write about something that never existed yet remained a place in the heads of many.

The Fourth Reich at its most basic is a linguistic symbol and it is a metaphor that means one thing literally but is used figuratively to mean something else. It is also a slogan— a highly rhetorical signifier that uses an attention grabbing phrase to persuade and inform. It can create solidarity by providing a rallying point and can be used to foster social polarization by causing opposition from groups whose membership believes differently. However we see it, it is not to be regarded lightly.

“Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon” by Damian Serbu— Not an Ordinary Christmas Story

Serbu, Damian. “Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon”, Ninestar Press, 2018.

Not an Ordinary Christmas Story

Amos Lassen

Before you read Damian Serbu’s Christmas novella, “Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon”, you might want to forget all you know about Christmas. Santa has decided that the time has come to reveal who he really is— a vampire. (He is eternal is he not and he does not seem to age from year to year. Santa always looks like Santa. Thinking about how to reveal this, Santa decides that the best advanced publicity comes from reality stories and he drafts Simon the Elf, a captive former human, to hit Chicago for the holidays and strike up a romance.

Santa knows his importance in the world and therefore wants Simon to document everything, so that people will understand what it is to live as a slave before the big story hits the streets.  give people a taste for life under Santa’s enslavement before the main story hits. Simon, at first, wants no part of this and resists Santa. He knows that any romance he finds will be short Forced to the Second City against his will, Simon at first resists Santa’s orders, knowing a romance would be short and cause some innocent victim to enter Santa’s depraved world.

What Simon did not take into account (and there was no way that he could have) was that he would meet a great and charming guy with a sharp wit and hot and sexy to boot.
Simon is enchanted by Jonah all the while knowing that what was to come would be horrible. Tragedy awaits the both of them. Santa captured and enslaved Simon… the old man is a vampire with a taste for death. He forces Simon to look for love in the gay bars of Chicago and then… (Did you ever notice that if you rearrange the letters in Santa’s name, you get an evil name that we have all been taught to fear?). The idea for the story is clever and Damian Serbu is a fine writer (who knows about vampires) and while I have never personally celebrated Christmas, there is something about the season that is intoxicating. However, here there is quite a different feeling.

I have long been a far of Damian Serbu and I anxiously await his literary output. He manages to give us characters who are “morally ambiguous” and that is exactly what we have in our elf, Simon. I got the feeling that this is the beginning of something that is yet to come from its author. I would love to read an expanded edition of the story and I have the feeling  that it is not far off.

I realize that I have not said a lot about what happens in the plot and that is because I do not want to spoil anyone’s read. I recommend picking up a copy of this for s fun holiday read and remember to think twice before you sit on Santa’s lap this year.

“THE THIRD MURDER”— An Intricate Legal Thriller

“The Third Murder”

An Intricate Legal Thriller

Amos Lassen

Leading attorney Shigemori takes on the defense of murder-robbery suspect Misumi who has served jail time for another murder 30 years ago. The odds for winning the case are stacked against Shigemori. His client freely admits his guilt even though he faces the death penalty if he is convicted. As Shigemori digs deeper into the case, he hears the testimonies of the victim’s family and Misumi himself. Now Shigemori begins to doubt whether his client is the murderer after all.  Directed and written by Hirokazu Kore-eda, this is a complex elusive film that keeps us guessing. It is a legal thriller whose mystery trappings are something of a red herring.

 

We see a brutal killing in which Misumi (Kōji Yakusho) bludgeons his former boss to death, then sets the body aflame. Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama), enters the proceedings late in the process, after Misumi has already confessed to the crime. The trial is expected to be swift, as Misumi murdered two men when he was younger — surely a third murder involving him can’t be coincidence.

Shigemori merely wants to reduce the charges and spare Misumi the looming threat of the death penalty. His case becomes complicated when Misumi’s story continually changes, seemingly without reason. Other evidence from the family of the murdered man leads Shigemori to question Misumi’s culpability, and whether he’s been lied to the whole time.

Director Kore-eda gives us a story that works perfectly well on a surface level as a mystery. He also interrogates the Japanese criminal courts and the ways in which they presume guilt. A key event halfway through the trial should lead to a new trial, with an untainted jury, but the judges and the lawyers jointly agree to continue with the current trial in the interest of a speedy verdict. Despite the chilly, desaturated color scheme, you can almost see a flash of outrage from Kore-eda at their disregard for a man’s life.

 

It’s nearly impossible to watch Still Walkingwithout thinking of the conflicts between the young and old, or the Eastern and Western cultures in Tokyo Story and Late Spring. Kore-eda returns to that mode more than any other but aligning his style with those films ignores vast swaths of his filmography. It doesn’t account for the dark social realism of Nobody Knows, the fantasy of After Life, or the utterly bizarre blow-up doll brought to life in Air Doll. Kore-eda has always been about these contradictions, and The Third Murder plays right into them.

Still, his Ozu-inspired style is somewhat present. Kore-eda’s camera often roves about, even though he occasionally leaves it motionless like the older master. He tends to push in slowly toward his characters, as if he’s an eavesdropper who has to lean forward a bit to intrude on their conversation. It creates a sense of intimacy, as if the audience is there amidst these discussions about a man’s fate, yet also turns us into voyeurs spying on the pain of others.

Fukuyama and Yakusho are both excellent in their legal wranglings. Yakusho has the tougher job, though. His accused murderer is an enigma; those who loved him are absent, and he refuses to reveal much about his life and motivations. In a lesser actor the role might have become too sinister, but Yakusho presents enough humanity for the audience to continually question his guilt. The film is mostly concerned with the ills of Japanese society and it is a moving and chilling legal thriller.

The main issue here is the value of a person’s life, and whether it should be up to the criminal justice system to decide if someone deserves to die. Though the themes are heavy, the narrative is never plodding and Koreeda offers many details to give us context in this metaphysical discussion and the increasingly unknowable nature of the crime doesn’t point the moral compass one way or another.

“The Third Murder” is shot with unusual crispness and a series of intriguing tableaus boasting clarity and layered depth in equal measure. A significant portion of the film takes place in the same small room and two actors and a glass wall offer myriad insights in these tense scenes. This is more than a film, it is an experience.

This is not a whodunit with the killing of a factory owner by already twice-convicted murderer Misumi shown to us in the very first scene, a crime then immediately confessed to by Misumi himself. Instead, his lawyer Shigemori’s aim is to avoid the death penalty as we attempt to unravel Misumi’s motives. A pathological liar, Misumi’s interrogations soon become rather frustrating despite the interesting moral dilemmas they raise, and ultimately, the conclusion doesn’t feel worth the plodding and confusing two hours it takes to get there.

This is the kind of film that will reward revisiting over years. It chronicles injustice, but it is a deeply, deeply moral film. It still examines relationships between parents and children through an undeniably humanistic lens.

Bonus features include Making-Of featurette and Messages from the Cast. The package includes excerpt from an interview with director Hirokazu Kore-eda, Why-We-Selected, and chapter breaks.

“She’s My Dad: A Father’s Transition and a Son’s Redemption” by Jonathan Williams and Paula Stone Williams— A Father’s Confession

Williams, Jonathan S. and Paula Stone Williams. “She’s My Dad: A Father’s Transition and a Son’s Redemption”, William Knox, Westminster, 2018.

A Father’s Confession

Amos Lassen

Jonathan S. Williams was three months into pastoring a new, evangelical church when his father, Paul, confessed that he was transgender. His father was a prominent evangelical pastor who soon became Paula, and Jonathan’s life and ministry went into a tailspin. Jonathan felt betrayed by his mentor and confidante and scared that his church would lose funding and support if Paula’s secret was exposed. He sunk into depression and alcoholism.

“She’s My Dad” follows Jonathan’s long journey toward reconciliation, forgiveness, and acceptance of his father as well as his church’s journey to become one of the  fully LGBTQ-inclusive, evangelical churches in America. Jonathan and Paula provide insight and encouragement for those with trans family members and show us how to empathize with the feelings of loss and trauma and understanding that even being LGBTQ-affirming doesn’t mean the transition of a family member will be easy. Jonathan writes “of his family’s continuing evolution, the meaning of remaining loyal to one’s father even when she is no longer a man, the ongoing theological evolution surrounding transgender rights and advocacy in the church, and the unflinching self-scrutiny of a pastor who lost his God only to find God again in his father’s transition.” Of course, the message here is love and acceptance.

 

Jonathan Williams shares the story of his father’s transition and discusses its impact on his own life. Both parent and son, before becoming ministers, were involved in a church building organization, a movement within Evangelical Christianity, and they had both based their entire lives around the church. 
The story begins with the reader in the middle of issues with the description of Paula’s trip home to New York to come out to the family. This is a family full of pastors, all members deeply involved with their church. Paula, then Paul, recognizes this and describes his situation clinically, explaining that transgender identity is no longer recognized as a psychiatric disorder. Williams doesn’t tell us how the rest of his family responded, but he himself is shattered. He essentially goes through the different stages of grief as he struggles with losing his father.

“There’s no way to know how to react.  We now live in a culture where those who identify as being transgender receive greater support, but behind this there is a family that does not understand.
Paula’s story is fascinating in that she is a member in and a leader of an ultraconservative community. But this is not Paula’s story; it is Jonathan’s.

Paula, of course, immediately loses her job when she comes out as transgender and Williams recognizes and realizes that he too would lose his job if he “came out” as the accepting son of a transgender woman, so, at first, hides this from his church. He struggles to reconcile his relationship with his parent and with his ultraconservative community. He begins to drink heavily. He tells a select few people in his life about his parent’s changing identity but is disappointed when they focus on his parent’s side by celebrating Paula’s courage and perseverance.
What Jonathan is saying to us is that other people are affected by a transition and that today’s narrative does not include having one’s father, brother, sister, mother, child, or spouse become a completely different person on a neurological level. .
Williams’ relationship with his parent is strained in the months after Paula initially came out to the family, but he works through his feelings and eventually the two regain their close and loving relationship. Williams has to make some difficult career choices and eventually leaves the church-building community to focus on a progressive church that is welcoming to the LGBT community.

Williams goes on to discuss his ideas about reconciling his Christian faith with the need to love and accept his parent. It is awful and very sad that the Evangelical world has no place for people like Paula. Williams points out that the Bible only has a few passages that could possibly be referencing homosexuality (and actually do not reference it at all). By leaving his old community and career, Williams shows great courage.
The final section of the book discusses, in depth, certain passages in the Bible. “Williams puts the Bible in its proper context of an ancient text that should be treated as a living document rather than literal truth. He points to the US Constitution as another example: we should not take the words of eighteenth century white men as absolute truth but use it as a guide. He outlines some interesting theories about what those Bible passages that seemingly condemn homosexuality actually mean, and points to some similar passages that had one meaning thousands of years ago and a completely different meaning today, such as the Abraham/Isaac sacrifice story and passages condoning rape and slavery. This section of the book reads a bit like a Bible study, but Williams again demonstrates his strong sense of narrative structure by bringing us back to a final scene that mirrors a passage from earlier in the book, at a baseball game, where he concludes that he is at peace with his faith and that he and his parent have a wonderful relationship again.”

Anyone who has gone through the transition of someone they love should read this. In fact, everyone should read this.

“Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora” by Gayatri Gopinath— Affect, Archive, Region and Aesthetics

Gopinath, Gayatri. “Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora”, Duke University Press, 2018.

Affect, Archive, Region and Aesthetics

Amos Lassen

 Gayatri Gopinath brings queer studies to looking at investigations of diaspora and visuality and traces the interrelation of affect, archive, region, and aesthetics through an examination of a wide range of contemporary queer visual culture. She includes film, fine art, poetry, and photography and conceptualizes aesthetic practices of queer diaspora showing the intimacies of seemingly disparate histories of (post)colonial residence and displacement as a product of diasporic trajectories.

Ignoring “standard formulations of diaspora that inevitably foreground the nation-state, as well as familiar formulations of queerness that ignore regional gender and sexual formations”, she sets up unexpected encounters between works by South Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Australian, and Latinx artists (Tracey Moffatt, Akram Zaatari, and Allan deSouza). She shows how their art functions as regional queer archives that express alternative understandings of time, space, and relationality and provides “new critical perspectives on settler colonialism, empire, military occupation, racialization, and diasporic dislocation as they indelibly mark both bodies and landscapes.”

We see new cartographies of diasporic connections that provide a fresh look of our understanding of settler colonialism, empire, and racialization. This is a detailed examination of queer diasporic films and visual art projects that show how critical regionalism can interrupt conventional conceptions of local/global and metropolis/diaspora distinctions.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction. Archive, Region, Affect, Aesthetics  1

  1. Queer Regions: Imagining Kerala from the Diaspora  19
  2. Queer Disorientations, States of Suspension  59
  3. Diaspora, Indigeneity, Queer Critique  87
  4. Archive, Affect, and the Everyday  125

Epilogue. Crossed Eyes: Toward a Queer-Sighted Vision  169

Notes  177

Bibliography  213

Index  217

“The Pallbearer: A Novel” by Jordan Farmer— Living on the Edge

Farmer, Jordan. “The Pallbearer: A Novel”, Skyhorse, 2018.

Living on the Edge

Amos Lassen

Jason Felts, a dwarf and aspiring social worker who lives above the town funeral home of Lynch, West Virginia, is assigned to counsel one of the Gilbert brothers incarcerated inside a youth correctional facility for possession charges. Ferris Gilbert, the town patriarch, sees a rare opportunity and insists under threat of violence that Jason smuggle a package into the jail. Jason is torn between his desire to save the young Gilbert brother from a life of crime and concern for his own safety. At the same time, Gilbert is carefully watching Terry Blankenship, a strung-out young man who is desperate to carve out a secret life for himself and his boyfriend. If Terry cannot pay his debts to the Gilberts, he has one choice: kill the local sheriff or face the consequences. Soon, Sheriff Thompson is found dead Now both implicated in serious crimes, Jason and Terry must beat the law and escape the threat of Ferris Gilbert.

It seems that the theme of the book is how do we live with the choices we make when they are disastrous? Writer Jordan Farmer’s prose unites lyricism and a vision that changes how we look at “the other”, the poor and those who seek salvation yet have no means to do so.  We get quite a look at “dangerous, heartbroken misfits”, devastated characters who are outsiders of society’s outskirts.

Both Terry and Jason must make life-altering decisions. Terry is desperate to get out of town and Jason is dedicated to saving young inmates from a life behind bars. They must decide whether to listen to  Gilbert’s threats and implicate themselves in serious crimes or find other ways out of the situations they are in. 
We see the limitations of the characters’ knowledge.

I was hooked on the first page and I loved the character development and how lives are intertwined. This is a novel of place and circumstance as seen through the eyes of Gilbert and Terry both of whom are locked up in, the youth detention center at which Felts is a counselor. 
They both are in desperate situations and are forced to make decisions and take actions that they really don’t want to take, but there are not many choices for boys like them.

This a dark story full of stark realities and of a community that is controlled by criminal elements and is on the edge.

“INSTINCT: SEASON ONE”— Compelling

“Instinct: Season One”

Compelling

Amos Lassen

Dr. Dylan Reinhart (Alan Cumming) is an author and collefe professor who lives quietly and teaches psychopathic behavior to packed classes of students who love him. When top NYPD detective Lizzie Needham (Bojana Novakovic) appeals to him to help her catch a serial murderer who is using Dylan’s first book as a tutorial, Dylan is compelled by the case and leaves retirement, his students and academia and returns to his old skill set. Though Dylan and Lizzie clash at first, when it comes to catching killers, they realize they will make an ideal team if they both trust their instincts. There is something else dynamic here and that is that this series has earned praise as the first American crime procedural to feature an openly gay lead character. It is so great that we are no longer the victims.

Reinhart had been a former CIA agent but has now turned successful author and professor. His publisher Joan Ross (Whoopi Goldberg) tells Dylan that his most recent storyline is missing the magic that was present in his first book and suggests that he needs to become active in the field again to regain his lost writers mojo. This is one reason that he decides to tag team with Lizzie and their on screen tag team magic is quite evident from the first moment. They feed off of each other in solving murders. This particular serial killer murders each victim and leave one of fifty-two playing cards at the murder scene. Needham and Dylan have to figure out the cards clue in solving the next murder before it happens. There is greaton screen chemistry between actors Cummings and Novakovic making this series to be very entertaining. Reinhart was leading a simple life with his husband Andy Wilson (Daniel Ings). That changed with Lizzie.

Lizzie’s boss and best friend Jasmine (Sharon Leal) was being pressured by the mayor who insisted that  Lizzie solve the case soon. With help from a mysterious friend from Dylan’s past named Julian (Naveen Andrews) who could provide some information that NYPD could not find, Dylan and Lizzie were able to crack this case and begin a wonderful partnership.

Dylan’s character as a gay man would mean no romance with the female lead. You can see this as positive or negative, since we have to admit that sometimes the possible romance between the male and female lead would be a nice incentive and intriguing to see what comes next. But it could also be anticlimactic when the relationship has been achieved. Now having no romance on the other hand could be good as we would not be bothered by the “relationship” part and focused only on the investigations.

Alan Cumming is quite charming as the bit of socially awkward character and a great professor. Bojana Novakovic seemed to be a bit covered by Cumming’s onscreen presence at times. Nonetheless, but it felt like they were a bit non balanced. However, their chemistry is quite good and their banters are interesting. Julian who is portrayed nicely by Naveen Andrews is mysterious and has some great lines. Having only 13 episodes in the first season is good and there are also bits and pieces that reveal more of Dylan’s history, Julian’s secrecy and Lizzie’s past keeping us.  This is a police procedural drama series, with a lead character who is quite charming and partnered with a young female homicide detective.  It is funny, charming, exciting and intriguing .

“THE RAINBOW BRIDGE MOTEL”— Dean and Darren

 

“The Rainbow Bridge Motel”

Dean and Darren

Amos Lassen

Dean (Chris Modrzynski) and Darren (Cole Burden) have reserved their dream wedding package in Niagara Falls at the Rainbow Bridge Motel, a self-proclaimed number one “gay wedding destination.” However, they learn that they have  booked themselves in a seedy motel sandwiched between chemical plants and run by some not too sane guy named Shibbawitz (Scott Rubin). It seems that Shibbawitz has recently renamed the motel to ride the trend of Niagara Falls becoming a gay wedding destination, but he has no idea of how to cater to the LGBTQ community, much less perform a wedding ceremony. Unfortunately, the Burmese political refugee family that he employs to help him know even less. It seems that there is going to be a disastrous ceremony, but it actually pales in comparison to the heightened cultural and emotional obstacles stirred up by the approaching nuptials.

The cast includes Wilson Heredia, Tony Award Winner for Best Actor in Rent,  Diane Gaidry,  star of lesbian indie, “Loving Annabelle”, and famed Real World star Ruthie Alcaide who is one of the very first women ever to publicly come out while on television. This is a film that  a movie that blurs the lines between Gay & Straight entertainment and which both worlds could find funny.

The film is about the budding nuptials of Dean & Darren, an Arizona couple, heading off to their dream wedding in Niagara Falls at the Rainbow Bridge Motel. They are shocked to discover they’ve booked themselves in a run-down, motor lodge sandwiched between two chemical plants run by some crazy guy and a Burmese refugee family that helps him. 

 They also face huge challenges of a same-sex wedding — uncertain wedding protocols, disapproving relatives, religious barriers, secret lives resurfacing and so on. This, I understand, is the first film to ever shoot on the iconic Rainbow Bridge.  The film features great performances including Hollywood vet & 90’s Miramax Films’ fixture, Mel Gorham, who delivers a brilliant performance as Fran, Darren’s religiously challenged, unsupportive Mom.  Scott Rudin and J. Garrett Vorreuter co-directed.

“SNOWFLAKE”—- Inventive and Archaic Adult Fairy Tale

“Snowflake”

Inventive and Archaic Adult Fairy Tale

Amos Lassen

Coming in December from Artsploitation is Charlie Kaufman’s metafictional surreal film, “Snowflake”.  It is “An ass-kicking, blood-spurting, whip-cracking, adrenaline-pumping ride” — Pop Horror.    
“Hunting down the murderer of their families in an anarchic near-future Berlin, two outlaws find themselves trapped in the wicked fairy tale of a mysterious screenplay that entangles them in a vicious circle of revenge – apparently all written by a clueless dentist.  In their quest for vengeance, they must contend with a myriad of wicked fairy tale assassins, madmen, a blood-covered angel, and an electric-powered superhero.”

In near future Germany, immigrants and neo-Nazis openly clash on the streets and emergency services never venture into certain neighborhoods. A robot also plays a minor role. Murder might be a common occurrence, but not for everyone.

Javid (Reza Brojerdi) and Tan (Erkan Acar) shot up the kabab shop where Eliana’s (Xenia Assenza) late parents were eating, because they are violent knuckleheads. They deserve some harsh payback, even though they are products of their savage environment. They too seek revenge for the deaths of their families, which they blame on a former security minister turned outlaw paramilitary leader—not without some justification. With the help of her family’s former bodyguard Carson (David Masterson), Eliana will hire some of Europe’s vilest assassins to cap Javid and Tan. 

There will be considerable collateral damage, which nobody knows better than Arend Remmers (Alexander Schubert), the screenwriting dentist. Every violent scene he writes comes true. When Javid and Tan find an incomplete early draft, they pay him a little visit hoping to strong arm a better ending out of him, but it is hard to get around certain principles of screenwriting.

Arend Remmers, the real-life screenwriter, deserves credit for re-invigorating the Don Quixote/Pirandello-esque conceit of characters acknowledging and responding to the supposedly fictional works in which they appear. In Remmers’ screenplay[s], it is presented in a fittingly surreal and post-modern fashion, but it is never belabored, because there is additional pressing mayhem going on simultaneously, particularly that involving the film’s wildcards, Hyper Electro Man, the costumed vigilante, and Snowflake, Javid and Tan’s supposed guardian angel.

“Snowflake” is a charged revenge thriller, with many moving parts and shockingly memorable performances. A pair of murderers, their guardian angel named Snowflake, a Nazi climate boss, a woman seeking revenge, a superhero with electrical powers, and a dentist who seems to possess a script that stars all of them makes up the bizarre and vibrant cast of “Snowflake”. As the pair of murderers learn about the dentist and his script, they force him to write and rewrite the ending to their liking. Everyone is seeking revenge against everyone and they all feel like they could converge and explode at any given moment. Along the way, they meet more colorful and diabolical characters. It all makes sense in a twisted way.

At times the film feels as if it simply exists to bring on one offbeat character at you after another. The story moves between characters and storylines. This is a film about creation, failure, setting a goal, and then being able to refigure it. It’s a story not just about guns, gangsters, torture, angels, murder, and mayhem. It’s also about working through life with a plan and then being able to rewrite that plan or being a victim of your own rigidity.

But it’s also about blood and bullets and carnage. There’s a lot of that in “Snowflake”. Blood flies all over and the filmmakers make it all look beautiful. It is is a wonderful homage to word-making and bloodletting. Here is an original fairytale with some Tarantino style violence and witty humor.