Depravity and dysfunction still the main event

by Beacon Staff • March 18, 2009

"Birthed from the filthy brain of founder David Kleiler back in 1998," as their official Web site boasts, The Boston Underground Film Festival began as an all-night movie marathon of quirky and unknown films.

Run by Kleiler and his close friend Dima Ballin, the marathon was so popular that it soon evolved from a casual tradition into BUFF, as it became known: an annual, week-long celebration of strange, generally unheard-of movies selected for screening at different venues and theaters around Boston.

This year the BUFF staff is kicking off the festival on March 19 with iBad Biology/i, followed by an opening night party at T.T. The Bears in Central Square.

The feature film is described by Mitch Davis of the Fantasia International Film Festival, Montreal, as "Easily [Frank] Henenlotter's most twisted and perverse work to date . A film that flies its freak flag high and doesn't even try to appease the multiplex normals."

The horror flick comes packed with depraved sexual disorders and eerily paranormal, stomach-churning scenes. Jennifer, the sex-addicted protagonist, opens with the first line of dialogue: "I have seven clits." The grotesque details only develop from there until she meets Batz, a 40-year-old-virgin type loser who becomes addicted to shaft-stimulating drugs, and struggles to undo a never-ending erection problem.

Clearly this is a match made in heaven, if you find this kind of thing titillating.

Other films seem more lighthearted and odd, but nonetheless squirm-worthy.

A documentary entitled iThe Man Who Would Be Polka King/i follows the fame and failure of polka musician Jan Lewan.

Pulling a polka crime, the likes of which had never been seen, Lewan scams his fans from the promised dream of an authentically Polish paradise, equipped with concerts, trinkets and much anticipated visits to Pope John Paul II.

While its purposefully quirky narrative hinders its potential to be a serious examination into a musical artists life, it should prove to be both entertaining and eerily unsettling.

Also included in the BUFF lineup are "I Have a Secret.", a series of shorts placing the viewers in the seat of a priest who must hear scores of confessions, and "Make Your Own Damn Music Video!", arranged as a cacophony of miscellaneously peculiar songs.

Included in the series of music videos are "This is an Adventure" by Uncle Monsterface, "88th Precinct" by Team Robespierre, and "Grey Shallows" by Neptune, closing with "Whats the Use of Wond'rin" by Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls.

Redefining the German term schadenfreude, the BUFF staff is delighting in its audiences evident discomfort with their choice of "bizarre and insane little films," as their Web site reads, "eager to spring them on an unwitting public."

iCatch all the strange and dysfunctional films this week at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square and the Kendall Square Cinema from March 19-26./i