Less existential fable, more endurance test, this new film from Director Christopher Cribbins explores the gluttonous relationship between public and celebrity, art and society, and ketchup and Brian Blessed's left thigh muscle.
Filmed in 0.02nanometer lipstick vision on a budget of 2 halfpenny bits and a gallon of tupenny rice (alledgedly gobbled and gurgitated on set by the ovalscular Blessed), Eating Brian Blessed was inspired in part by a series of womb paintings by Japanese artist Hi Ho, which depict the foetuses of car crash victims as a mangled assemblage of limbs forming symbols in Jap typography pertaining to futility and doubt. Cribbins also cites an obsession with himself as a motivating factor behind his imaginative forniformation.
How do these influences translate to the big screen (or, as in three pivotal scenes in the film- the tablespoon)? Well, first it must be said that the peanut butter smeared perpetually over 40% of the camera's lens lends this piece a certain self-indulgent intro-digestinal ambience, alongside drawing a fanatically sourced performance from Blessed, who delivers his to-the-camera soliloquoys with a hunger not seen since his earliest work with the RSC, or his still earlier work with the McDonalds corporation.
And who could fail to think of womb-mess spelling 'FUCK IT' when faced with the haunting image of a 26 year old mentally subnormal supermodel, on his knees in his Berlin kitchen, scraping bits of Blessed off the tiling with his daughter/lover's detached shin bone?
What are we to make of the, as it were, final course, in which Herbert finally recants his lifelong Islamism (which he has inherited from his father Dieter in his idyllic Sussex childhood) upon catching sight of his own face in a bloody ice cream scoop? Perhaps Cribbins is saying- faith is glut, but cannot permanently succour our denial of self; that at the bottom of every spoonful of Christ is a gobstopper of vacuous selfhood that really shits up the crucifixtion.
This is quirky, deft and stars that man with the face like an animatronic alien from Scrubs. It is a work that constantly either asks questions or elicits questions from its audience. In this age of braindead corpo fests, which push easy answers and fried chicken meat upon us with every ultrapan or CGI depiction of Ghengis Khan succumbing to rheumatism, it is refreshing for a critic to see an audience leave a screening asking themselves and others, almost uniformly ''what in the fuck was that meant to be about?''
What indeed, dunce?
Originally Appeared In My Copy of This Sunday's Observer
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