The Midnight Parasites by Yoji Kuri

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The Midnight Parasites (1972) is a good example of the kind of animation I’m often searching for: strange and grotesque yet with its own internal logic. Yoji Kuri populates a Surrealist landscape with infernal creatures borrowed from Hieronymus Bosch, a succession of humanoids and predatory monsters whose struggles for survival are overlaid with an uncredited electronic score. I can imagine Roland Topor enjoying this one, it belongs in the same solar system as Fantastic Planet. Watch it here.

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Bosch details

Topsychopor by Roland Topor

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Published in Paris in 1964, “a game in the form of a psychological test produced by Topor with the help of Jean Suyeux”. A red box measuring 41 x 32 cm, containing 6 “decor boards” or stages which depict a street, a region of rocks, a cemetery, a bedroom, a plain and an island; plus two sheets of pre-cut characters: a fire, a clock, an eye, a shell, two Citroën autmobiles (a 2CV and a DS), a wolfman, a blind man, a baby, a naked man, Death, a sleeping woman, and a truncated man.

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“Sans prétendre atteindre à la rigueur d’un vrai test psychologique, TOPSYCHOPOR en utilise les principes. Il comprend six planches-décors et treize personnages ou objets. Le jeu consiste à choisir un décor et à y placer un ou plusieurs éléments découpés. ll suffit alors de se reporter au tableau des interprétations pour découvrir—avec horreur ou ravissement—ce que ce choix signifie. Le personnage ou l’objet choisi en premier lieu indique la tendance dominante du caractère du joueur, les éléments choisis ensuite viendront nuancer et compléter la première interprétation, selon un ordre d’importance décroissant. Certains objets ou personnages paraîtront peut-êtrc étranges; cela ne doit pas étonner, ils ont été voulus tels afin de faciliter les interprétations. Vous verrez d’ailleurs que vous vous familiariserez vite avec TOPSYCHOPOR et bientôt vous ressentirez la tentation de jouer avec lcs personnages sans plus vous soucier de leur signification. Car ce jeu cache son jeu, un jeu auquel vous vous prendrez. Pour l’interprétation des récits que vous ferez alors, vous pourrez toujours consulter votre psychiatre habituel.”

Rules of the game (autotranslated): “Without claiming to achieve the rigor of a real psychological test, TOPSYCHOPOR uses its principles. It includes six decor boards and thirteen characters or objects. The game consists of choosing a decor and placing one or more cut elements in it. It is then enough to refer to the table of interpretations to discover—with horror or delight—what this choice means. The character or object chosen in the first place indicates the dominant tendency of the player’s character, the elements then chosen will come to qualify and complete the first interpretation, in order of decreasing importance. Some objects or characters may appear strange; that should not surprise, they were wanted such in order to facilitate the interpretations. You will see that you will quickly become familiar with TOPSYCHOPOR and soon you will feel the temptation to play with the characters without worrying about their meaning. Because this game hides its game, a game that you will take. For the interpretation of the stories that you will then make, you can always consult your usual psychiatrist.”

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I don’t have a copy of this, unfortunately (and please don’t tell me you have one to sell). Picture searches kept turning up links to film festivals which was a little confusing until I realised that there’s a short film by Antonin Peretjatko, Mandico et le TOpsychoPOR, about a man encountering the game.

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Continue reading “Topsychopor by Roland Topor”

Weekend links 501

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Cover art by Michael Ashman, 1979.

• RIP Terry Jones, not only a writer, actor and director but also a presenter of the BBC’s short-lived Paperbacks series in 1981, a programme that included Angela Carter among its guests. Related: The Box (1981), a short film directed by Micky Dolenz, based on a play by Terry Jones and Michael Palin.

• “[David] Lynch in a suit and tie that echoes the formal dress of Twin Peaks’ FBI Agent Cooper, presses a small capuchin monkey, called Jack Cruz, to confess to the murder of Max.” What Did Jack Do?

• The week in Ghost Box: Flying Lotus and Julian House collaborate on a promo for the Moog Subsequent 25 synthesizer, while at Grave Goods Jim Jupp answers questions from beyond.

Bruce Sterling: “This is an essay about lists of moral principles for the creators of Artificial Intelligence. I collect these lists, and I have to confess that I find them funny.”

• A campaign to protect and maintain Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage.

• Winners of the Wiki Loves Monuments 2019 photo competition.

• Mix of the week: Sehnsucht by The Ephemeral Man.

• Susan Schulten on Emma Willard’s Maps of Time.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Roland Topor’s Brains.

• At Strange Flowers: 20 books for 2020.

Beat Box (1984) by Art Of Noise | Glory Box (1994) by Portishead | Black Box (1995) by Scorn

L’Autoportrait d’un Pornographe

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L’Autoportrait d’un Pornographe (1972) is a short film co-written by director Robert Swaim and Roland Topor in which Topor’s Surrealist cruelties and black humour are tempered to present a sardonic and sentimental tribute to a dying breed, the small-time Parisian pornographer. Daniel Langlet is the photographer who also sells his views of unclothed women from a coat whose lining is pocketed with prints.

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Swaim and Topor compare this declining trade to the vanished street merchants of the city; the film dates from a time when “le sex shop” was a new arrival on the streets of Paris, and a competitor with which a purveyor of black-and-white soft porn could never hope to compete. Topor himself makes a cameo appearance, and there’s a possible reference to Cocteau’s Orphée (and another vanishing trade) in the glass cutter we see in the street.

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Les Temps Morts by René Laloux