Hedda (Lydia Lunch) and her husband Neal (Don Bajema) live in an isolated castle in the countryside, which was formerly the home of Napoleon. Living a pretty relaxed life and expecting their first child, the two are quite content. That is, until Hedda invites her ex-lover Jackson (Henry Rollins) over, causing some awkward situations.
Like the viewer bleeding from the eyes.
As a reviewer, you sometimes get thrown for a loop from what gets dropped in your mailbox. KISS NAPOLEON GOODBYE is a perfect example. Certainly no horror flick, this film about relationships and the jealous, hateful and obsessive natures of these relationships. Really, it stopped me in my tracks, only because I was wondering what the hell I was watching, and what I did to deserve such punishment.
Directed by Babeth Mondini and written by Lunch herself, this 32-minute film is one of those films lumped in with Nick Zedd's term of 'Cinema of Transgression', a New York City-based underground film movement consisting of a group of like-minded artists using shock value and humor in their work. I've never been privy to the other films clustered under that title, nor have I ever heard Lunch's poetry, so forgive me if I don't 'get it' (or want to, for that matter). Really, the film is about as exciting as watching your clothes drying. This is hard to believe when you have scenes like a man drilling a hole in his head or what appears to be a woman urinating onto a hot pan.
Yep, it's one of 'those' films. The type that's filled with symbolism, shock images and not much else. Granted, there are some nice shots that show off the castle's haunting qualities, such as shots of dusty, bare rooms. But unfortunately, this potential is wasted when it comes to the acting and lack of character development. True, you can't do much for the latter in a half-hour, but how do you explain the erratic acting and just bizarre lines, which are compounded by the fact that the audio is beyond awful.
I'm sure there are those who will like this film, but I sure as hell couldn't. Experimental as it gets, this is really for fans of Lydia Lunch and those who followed the whole Cinema of Transgression movement. Anyone else is more than welcome to try and watch this hammered in an attempt to get some enjoyment out of it, but you'll probably end up watching something else.
Video: The 1.33:1 anamorphic fullscreen image is tolerable, though it certainly shows its 8mm origins. Grainy and soft throughout with noticeable edge enhancement, detail is hard to make out at times, though the colour is consistent. Not too distracting, but certainly far from superb.
Audio: Hideous. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track varies from being so-so to just plain terrible. Origins aside, the dialogue is muffled and noticeably hard to hear at times (in contrast to the music, which is overly loud), and not because of the hiss and distortion. Lower than low budget quality.
Surprise! No extras pertaining to the film itself, just stuff about Lunch.
The big extra is a 50-minute documentary entitled "Paradoxia & A Predator's Diary". Consisting of an up-front look at Lydia Lunch from a mixture of interviews, performance excerpts and other various tidbits, it's really just Lunch ranting about her philosophies and her past. I try not to judge, but the pretentiousness she projects and the fact that this extra reeks of narcisism, makes me want to burn something.
The other extra is a five-minute spoken word piece entitled "It's a Man's World". Taken from a live bootleg performance shot in black and white, it consists of Lunch with a microphone shouting out her spoken word poems about a corrupted male-dominated world. Really, I'm all for gender equality, but is it just me, or does this extra amount to another example of more unwarranted self-importance for Lunch? You decide.
I should also point out the various typos found on the back of the case, which just like Universal and WATERWORLD, shows just how much love was put into this release.
Really, I find it hard to glean any sort of entertainment value from this, unless you love Lydia Lunch. A waste of time and money for anyone but the artiest of film fans, KISS NAPOLEON GOODBYE is legalized torture for everyone else. Avoid it like the so much crap.