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Movie Recommendations for the Trump White House

It is quite odd to be writing this, but Donald Trump is now the President of the United States. This shouldn’t have happened for a number of reasons such as, his loss of the popular vote, confirmed Russian interference in the election process, and Trump’s many economic conflicts of interests. Apparently our liberal politicians are far too polite and have absolutely no backbone that could have stopped this asshole from becoming POTUS. I, as an average US citizen, am completely disgusted and decided to create a short list of films that should be projected on the side of the Whitehouse, legally or not, that are either signs of the time or suggestions for our new prez and his cabinet to watch. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the majority of the following choices are of European origin, seeing as how many European countries were far more devastated than the US in past wars. With Donald Trump as president, it appears as though the United States is asking to become violently devastated.

Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975)

Sometime late last year I noticed a story about Pope Francis likening journalists who write fake news—and those who enjoy reading it—to indulging in the “sickness of coprophagia,” or, literal shit eating. This apt statement from the Roman Catholic holy one only further solidified all of the associations in my mind that I had been making between Donald Trump and his team of cabinet members to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1975 film Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom. Taking place in the short-lived Italian fascist bastion, with the Marquis de Sade’s infamous writing super-imposed upon it, the film is about four extremely wealthy and powerful men who gather to marry each other’s daughters, in addition to murdering, raping, and generally mistreating a group of innocents imprisoned there. I can easily imagine Trump, Pence, Bannon, and McConnell in the leading roles, torturing and sodomizing young men, and generally wallowing in their own filth. The “Circle of Shit” sequence that involves some copious coprophagia is usually where I feel like looking away from or fast-forwarding the film. That being said, Pasolini’s last film is an absolutely beautiful work of art, even during its most unwatchable moments. Give Trump and his pals some time to encourage more fake news to spread while loosening the fundamental rights of the US constitution and I guarantee the Whitehouse will look like Salò very quickly.


Querelle (1982, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s last film before his death is a beautifully melodramatic story about sailors lounging about the docks of a French town. Based on a novel by Jean Genet, it goes beyond just homoeroticism. It is perhaps the gayest film of all time. Mike Pence really needs to watch it. Instead of a Broadway show of Hamilton, our vice president should enter a seedy art house and see what welcomes him. Our titular protagonist (Brad Davis) frequents a strange whorehouse, where he has tense anal sex with the owner’s husband Nono (Günther Kaufmann). Meanwhile the lieutenant (Franco Nero) wanders around, recording his fantasies, basking in the reveries of sailor on sailor desire—I like to imagine this is the character Pence identifies with most. On top of that, a murderous construction worker named Gil (Hanno Poeschl), hardhat and all, loiters around saying things to other coworkers such as, “You look like your sister. Too bad you’re not a woman.” The not necessarily incestuous, but still somewhat perverse connotations remind me of Trump’s comments about his daughter. Querelle is a masterful film that hints at what Fassbinder could have created had he not passed away so soon. The rebellious homosexuality it displays is a great example for the resistance that the US needs right now.


Space is the Place (1974, John Coney)

Seeing as how the president-elect appears to have a complete disdain for black people and science, Sun Ra’s afro-futurist, musical/blaxploitation/sci-fi film Space is the Place is a good movie to project onto the white house. The enigmatic jazz musician arrives in Oakland, CA, via spaceship intending to remove the black population before the Earth explodes. This film isn’t the only narrative to equate the specifically African-American experience to speculative fiction, but it is certainly one of the most enjoyable I have seen. Imagine beings who look and speak differently than you suddenly arriving on your shores, imprisoning you, and taking you to a far away land for a life of enslavement. For some it is an allegory, for others it is an experience their ancestors went through. There will be no progress in the US until the concerns of black people are no longer institutionally ignored. Likewise can be said for the science community that offers up well-researched evidence of climate change, etc, which is discarded in favor of religion, or simply whatever economic deal serves the wealthy most. Sun Ra is one of the more prophetic musicians of recent times, who also offers comic enjoyment and intelligent political discourse. I would much rather have a black man claiming to be from Saturn as president than Donald Trump.


The Sinful Dwarf (1973, Vidal Raski)

Everything about this movie is wrong, kind of like the presidency of Donald Trump. The Sinful Dwarf is a Euro-sleaze film about a little man named Olaf (Torben Bille) who runs a prostitution/slavery ring to keep his mother happy. He supplements this by addicting the naked women to heroin, so they won’t leave their hellish trap of an apartment building. An extremely naive couple moves in, creating some conflict, seeing as how they might stumble upon the madness going on in the building. Apparently there is a full freak pornographic version of this movie that I do not need to see. Much like the absurd construction worker in Querelle, Olaf reminds me of Donald Trump. Perhaps The Sinful Dwarf is the being that resides within the president, adult yet child-like, lashing out at interlopers while drugged out hookers are in the periphery. And in all seriousness, there were a number of human trafficking allegations brought against President Trump in regards to foreign models working in unfair conditions. These Sinful Dwarf associations are not simply pure outlandishness.


Society (1989, Brian Yuzna)

Bill Whitney (Billy Warlock), an upper class Beverly Hills teenager begins to suspect that his parents and sister are involved in some sort of bizarre conspiracy in which the economic elite mutate into fleshy masses worthy of a William S Burroughs novel and have incestuous orgies. In context to the Trump family, this insane premise actually kind of makes sense. Donald calls his daughter Ivanka a “piece of ass.” She is reportedly moving into the Whitehouse instead of Melania for odd business reasons. While it is easy to dismiss gross, shape shifting sex orgies as part of some alien ritual of the 1%… perhaps it is actually all real! Part of the plot surrounds a high school election, with all kinds of gaslighting going on, making our protagonist think he is going crazy. It sounds a bit familiar. In the climactic sequence, Bill’s psychiatrist just comes out and says it: “You’re a different race, a different species, a different class. You’re not one of us… it’s a matter of good breeding, really.” What follows is absolutely disgusting.

About Joseph E. Dwyer

Born on a Friday the 13th, Joseph Dwyer has an ambivalent relationship with horror cinema that ranges from visceral pleasure to investigative schizoanalytics. He holds two master’s degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute, as both a filmmaker and theorist. He is unmoved by most contemporary art, and currently looks to the horror genre as a potential space for new perspectives on desire and dissent.

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