House Logo
Explore categories +

The Hole (#110 of 4)

Echoes from the Void José Revueltas’s The Hole

Comments Comments (...)

Echoes from the Void: José Revueltas’s The Hole
Echoes from the Void: José Revueltas’s The Hole

In the visitors’ lobby of a Mexican prison, a mother secretly wishes death on her incarcerated son. He’s got a wish of his own: getting his hands on a feverishly anticipated bag of drugs. Smuggling the stuff past the prison guards—so-called “apes”—will no doubt prove difficult. But a plan has been worked out—and the mother has agreed to help. She remains, after all, bound to “this son who still clung to her entrails, where he watched her with his miscreant’s eye.”

We’re only a short way into this 1969 novella by José Revueltas, the Mexican writer and political activist. Entitled The Hole, it concerns three cellmates awaiting their next fix. The son, the most detested member of this trio, is dubbed the Prick, and the narrator hatefully insists that he’s indeed “a useless prick, blind in one eye, dragging himself around with the shakes and a lame leg.” Holed up alongside him is Albino, who throttles the Prick from time to time. Polonio is no less violent, and he intends to kill the Prick, but only after that bag of drugs is delivered to them.

Take Two #13: Jaws (1975) & Piranha (1978)

Comments Comments (...)

Take Two #13: Jaws (1975) & Piranha (1978)

Universal Pictures

Take Two #13: Jaws (1975) & Piranha (1978)

This past summer should have belonged to Joe Dante. Matinee, his 1993 masterpiece and his most seemingly personal film, finally made its way to DVD in the spring. Piranha, his shoestring 1978 debut, was then released on DVD on August 3, mere weeks before Miramax released a $20 million nominal remake, Piranha 3D, that did surprisingly good business. And all the while, Dante was sitting on a finished 3D feature of his own, The Hole, which had been positively received at the Venice Film Festival.

But anyone who’s followed Dante’s career could have seen the inevitable disappointments coming. Universal released the Matinee DVD almost silently, with not even a commentary track among its spare special features; Piranha 3D gave no credit to the earlier film’s director, despite his clear creative imprint; and as of this writing, The Hole still languishes without an American distributor. The sole unblemished success of the bunch was the Piranha DVD, which came out as part of Shout! Factory’s lovingly packaged “Corman Classics” series.

New York Film Festival 2010 Joe Dante’s The Hole

Comments Comments (...)

New York Film Festival 2010: The Hole

Big Air Studios

New York Film Festival 2010: The Hole

Joe Dante’s latest film, The Hole, which screened at the New York Film Festival on Saturday night, is no more a breakthrough for the 3D process than James Cameron’s Avatar was (though Dante’s film is, as one might expect, far less self-important); in fact, though Dante expressly conceived the film to be shot in 3D, rather than allowing 3D to be added as an afterthought (as has been the case with many recent Hollywood films, most recently Wes Craven’s My Soul to Take), the truth is, despite a handful of arresting instances of set design and camera perspectives which somewhat gain from that increasingly ubiquitous third dimension, overall The Hole probably didn’t need to be in 3D at all. As it is, seeing this film in 3D never presents any major distractions, but neither does it enhance the film in any special way. And as I’ve come to conclude after the immense hype for Avatar subsided, if you don’t much notice the 3D in a 3D film, why not just make the film in regular 2D in the first place?

Toronto International Film Festival 2009 Mother, Enter the Void, & The Hole

Comments Comments (...)

Toronto International Film Festival 2009: Mother, Enter the Void, & The Hole

Magnolia Pictures

Toronto International Film Festival 2009: Mother, Enter the Void, & The Hole

Mother: Further memories of murder with Bong Joon-ho. The mother (Kim Hye-ja) is a middle-aged, small-town store clerk running a little clandestine acupuncture on the side, the son (Won Bin) is a man-child who gets distracted by golf balls while seeking revenge on hit-and-run millionaires. Won is hauled off to jail after a schoolgirl is found murdered, and Kim, sure that her boy is innocent, turns amateur sleuth. Park Chan-wook would have wrung the Grand Guignol hell out of this premise, but Bong is less interested in shocks than in the synergy between vast Korean fields and the equally mysterious inner landscape of the dazed matriarch making her way across them. A welter of motifs and clues (a sluggish psyche’s gradually unclogged remembrances, tell-tale snapshots in a promiscuous high schooler’s cellphone, a key scene played from different angles) fused by superb filmmaking, it at times suggests a dark-humored lampoon of one of Naruse’s odes to maternal diligence, but with a tarantula sting of its own.