In a period where here in Italy media are building the obssession for Red Brigade and terrorism i would suggest everyone to watch "The raspberry reich", a funny queer movie about a terrorist group imitating the Symbionese Liberation Army and the German Raf. Bruce La Bruce directed a great story depicting the demistification of terrorists, in a commedy that traces the conflict between ideology and praxis, in a pure agit-porn style!
espanz: what about the diy attitude, you started in the punk scene, what do you think is the difference with the web 2.0 attitude? Is it maybe marketing one self or there are some possibilities to really shareideas through the web?
BlaB: Actually I think it all depends on your attitude.
Myspace can be cool or uncool, depending on how you use it. On my comments page, for example, which is like a public bulletin board, i try to weed out stuff that looks super commercial or corporate, but if it’s just people or small labels or whatever promoting their work, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I’m working on a new movie now, called Otto; or, Up with Dead People, and I’ve met several of the people I’ve cast in it on Myspace, and that’s also where I’ve found most of the music I’m going to use. So I think it’s a good "networking tool", even though I hate that terminology.
espanz: I loved The raspberry reich, how the whole idea came from?
BlaB: When I was in the punk scene in Toronto in the eighties my friends and I were all interested in the RAF and the SLA and all those crazy extreme left wing, quasi-Marxist militant proto-terrorist groups who today seem so refreshing. You know, the time before the world became a police state. So I was referring back to my interest in that, which in the climate of post 9/11 hysteria, seemed really relevant again. But it even went back further to my University days, when i studied a lot of psychoanalytic theory, including a course called Psychoanalysis and Feminism. I used t read a lot of Marcuse and Reich and Melanie Klein, etc., and I took extensive notes, so I went back and revisited all that stuff and decided to make a quasi-porn movie about it. I also had a lot of professors in university who talked the talk about social and political revolution, but who didn’t walk the walk, who actually lived very sedentary, bourgeois lives. So I wanted to make a movie about this kind of armchair revolutionaries.
espanz: Tell us more about the making of it, I love women in the street staring in hoze the actors… what happened in Berlin during the shooting?
BlaB: That scene was funny because we actually had a hard time capturing the horrified or slightly disgusted looks of the general public. I think there is a certain amount of tolerance in general for homosexuality today because it has become so visible and somewhat normalized, but some people are still secretly repulsed by it. Most people keep it to themselves, and the Germans are very reserved, so we really had to push it pretty far to get a reaction. I had the two male actors really shoving their tongues down each other’s throats and even taking off their shirts and lying on the ground. it was pretty funny, but it took us about four hours to get enough footage.
All sorts of fun stuff happened during that shoot. Like we got kicked out of our primary location in an apartment complex on Karl Marx Allee because we had actors running in and out of the building wearing ski masks and carrying guns, and the neighbours
espanz: I mostly like the irony with which you describe revolutionary communities and their psychologies, interactions and propaganda, is it the same with new political communities? And what about the digital communities?
BlaB: I’m not sure about new political communities, because I don’t really participate that much on that level.
Although for example I’ve had a couple of events at a great bookstore in Berlin called B-Books, which is like an anarchist/leftist syndicalist bookstore, and I had discussions about The Raspberry Reich there, and i think a lot of them could relate to the kind of critique I was levelling at them. But for me it was an affectionate critique, and I also include myself, as a kind of "Marxist sympathiser", as an object of the critique. But they did have a good sense of humour about it. I think part of the problem with the left is that they can be so idealistic and well-intentioned that they lose their sense of humour, and they also aren’t so great at being auto-critical. Realpolitik isn’t really something they excel at. You notice it even in the ridiculous uber-politics of mainstream America, where the conservative Republicans have more of a sense of humour than the "liberal" Democrats (they’re actually also very conservative, of course). The Republicans fight dirty and know how to take the piss out of the liberals.
espanz: I’ve seen The raspberry reich to a projection here in Italy in the phagg off circuit, but I checked on my p2p community and you seem really well ranked. What do you think about that? Is it possible this could give your films more visibility or do you think that’s just stealing your work?
I’ve also backuped The raspberry reich on my pc cause I think copyright is COUNTEREVOLUTIONARY, are you upset about the possibility of your fan to do so?
BlaB: I’m not up on my p2p, but i should be. i have friends who are really into it. my excuse is i come from the generation just prior to the digital revolution, so i always feel a bit alienated because i wasn’t schooled in it. i mean, i try to keep up, and my movies now use all the latest digital technology, but I work with people who know the technology and who operate it for me. it’s not second nature for me like it is for a lot of newer generations! i’ve always been a little tecnhophobic, so for me even my limited involvement seems like an achievement! but i think p2p is amazin – truly democratic and based on anti-capitalist notions of sharing and cooperating and educating. i love downloading free music, which is still not illegal in Canada, so i do as much of that as possible. i love the idea of people having my work captured on digital because it makes it sort of immortal. especially for The Raspberry Reich, because as you know we were hit with a major lawsuit for copyright infringement for using the Che Guevera image. we were sued by the estate of Korda, the photographer of the famous Che image, and although we had our damages reduced significantly by our lawyers, we still had to pay all the court costs and also we’re supposed to remove the Che image from the movie! so technically the original version is now illegal. so i want it to live on, like Che! we have also now released a hardcore version of the movie, under the title The Revolution is My Boyfriend, available from Cazzo Film, which replaces the Che image with slogans like Intellectual Property is Theft and Che Gueverra Is Counterrevolutionary!
espanz: Do you p2p?what’s the last film you downloaded from your favourite p2p network?
BlaB: Like I said, i don’t p2p yet, but i do subscribe to Zip.ca, which is like the Canadian version of Netflix. lately on that i’ve watched a lot of great documentaries like In the Year of the Pig by Emile de Antonio, which gives a great background to the Vietnam War, and seems totally relevant today. And also one called Asylum, about r.d laing psychiatric social experiments. I also watched two great old Val Lewton horror flicks, I Walked with a Zombie and The Body Snatchers, to prepare for the new zombie movie i am about to shoot!