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Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Trieste S+F festival review – Blood on Melies’ Moon

blood-on-melies-moonMy notes on Luigi Cozzi’s Blood on Melies’ Moon.I saw only the latest cut (111m) of Luigi Cozzi’s bizarre, epic semi-home movie, which has been screened in longer or shorter versions.  I’m assuming it’s finished, but wouldn’t be surprised if the genial auteur enthusiast keeps tinkering with it for years.

A sort of mock-documentary, it offers some parallels with the much tauter Fury of the Demon by positing a connection between a fragment of a lost Georges Méliès movie and a magical attempt to avert an impending asteroid apocalypse.  The disappearance in 1895 of Louis le Prince, who might otherwise be remembered as the inventor of the cinema, also figures in the concept, along with homages to the s-f and fantasy cinema Cozzi manifestly loves more than any other Italian filmmaker, trips to fannish locales in France and Italy (much of it is set in Profondo Rosso, the memorabilia shop/museum Cozzi runs in Rome), gruesome but inept giallo murders committed by a figure called the Masked Magician (who is blithely forgiven for all his woman-slaughtering and earns a happy ending in one of the finales), a French trickster character named Pierpoljakos (Philippe Beun-Garbe) who leads Cozzi (playing himself) through the mystery, a CGI effects sequence with guest star turns from a host of film and TV spaceships (from Destination Moon to The Invaders), a few hideously embarrassing stretches (Cozzi rapping in a dreadlocks wig over the end credits), cameos for Lamberto Bava (showing off his father’s book collection) and Dario Argento (signing his autobiography), a tattered French SF novel which transforms into Méliès’ moon rocket, too much to-camera talk, snippets from most of Cozzi’s previous movies (a smile from Stella Star, heroine of Starcrash, delights her creator in one of the few wholly charming moments), a talking severed head and a whole lot of extended self-indulgence.

It’s even further off the mainstream beaten path than The Black Cat (1989), Cozzi’s last completed feature.  In the funniest sequence, Cozzi has a bad dream where critic Paolo Zelati labels him ‘the Italian Ed Wood’ only to wake and cheer himself up with the possibility that like Wood he’ll become famous and Tim Burton will make a Hollywood film about him; on this evidence, he’s closer to being the Italian Damon Packard (Reflections of Evil), Mike Jittlov (The Wizard of Speed and Time) or Ray Dennis Steckler (Rat Pfink a Boo Boo).

Just prove it really exists, here’s a trailer.

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