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Berlinale 2008: "Green Porno" (Rossellini, USA)

I love the idea of Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno, its form and style so thoughtfully determined by the desire to create a film that is
Green Porno

I love the idea of Isabella Rossellini’s Green Porno, its form and style so thoughtfully determined by the desire to create a film that is not just legible but tailored to the specifications of the small screens of the world—iPods, cell phones, and the like. Green Porno exists in what will perhaps be a short lived time slot before larger films are produced with these ultra-small screens in mind, just like how mainstream films have long been shot—and perhaps compromised in the process—so that the cropping involved in television broadcasts doesn’t cut out “necessary” on-screen information. But for now, and hopefully for a while yet, artists will embrace the unusually quaint screen size and produce something as fun, funny, and inspired as this.

Rossellini’s three films screened in Berlinale are part of an eight part series, and are short, bright, boldly colored and flatly composed. The subject: the fascinating grossness and all around inventive zaniness of nature in the many ways bugs copulate. As a spider, a slug, and a fly, Rossellini dresses up in terrific full-sized insect costumes, informing us for the idiosyncratic facts and surprisingly icky particulars of the sexual techniques of these larger-than-life creatures. The actress/director clearly relishes the strangeness and humor of the subject, and her enthusiasm and preference for the weird—but the boldly, almost childishly simple weird—is infectious. How the films actually look on a screen the size of a pack of cigarettes would be interesting to find out, but from these three delightful shorts, Rossellini has really done the unexpected, which is inspire a desire to watch films on screens previously considered to be the most degenerate medium for watching anything of artistry or quality.

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