Strange things occured after the suicide of artist Rozz Williams and the creation of the short film "PIG". Depicted here is what the death of him meant to the people left behind.
Should I be freaked out that the second this movie ended, I looked at the clock and it was 13:34 in Sweden? (Yes, I'm Swedish, so my clock is an alien to you fancy Americans). Anyway...
Nico B. is not only known for running the fantastic distributor Cult Epics, but also for directing the Rozz Williams' short "PIG" back in the late 90's. The short film became notorious for its real violence, and fans of Rozz as well as film enthusiasts worldwide found a similar exorcism in it as Rozz himself found in making it. Soon after shooting it, Rozz commited suicide, and that's exactly what "1334" is about.
Bill Oberst Jr. portrays Rozz Williams hanging himself wearing a wounded, old man mask, and what follows is Dante White-Aliano's character going through some strange things connected to the death of Rozz Williams. "1334" lingers between the supernatural and the psychological, while bringing in real life into it. The short is said to be based on what actually occured around that time, and watching this it's absolutely possible. From a psychological standpoint, of course. The suicide of a person is very likely to cause a disruption in the life of the people close to the deceased, and I think the way this film shows that is the most interesting thing about it. Not to mention, the locations are of significant importance: Rozz Williams' apartment, the very spot he commited suicide at and the home of Nico B. Macabre, much?
It follows the experimental style of "PIG" to tell this story, and while it's very tender in its execution in comparison to the previous film, there's a clear connection. There might not be anything particularly moving about this film, but the emotional impact is still somehow very strong. Perhaps the entire idea of this short adds to that emotional atmosphere, that's it's made by people who actually knew Rozz, and that it's actually about the suicide. There's a raw force in this (and "PIG" equally) that comes out of the use of reality to show a subconscious, psychological terror, and if nothing else then this is something that makes "1334" worth checking out.
The movie brings up the Black Death in its title, in the paintings in the background towards the end as well as using the Doctor's Plague mask in the same scene. The number 1334 has been brought up more than once in connection to "PIG". 1334 was the year of the highest death toll in Europe, or at the very least the start of the Black Death, and as said by Nico B., it's used as a metaphor for the world we're living in today. One thing you can't help but draw from this is that "PIG" and "1334" are about much more than the small stories they portray.
It's been many years since the first movie and it has grown as much respect as it has infamy. There's no way for fans to go into "1334" without having the first one in mind. The two are thematically, visually and stylistically connected but this one is not gruesome or violent. That doesn't mean it's not a very powerful short film, of course. I definitely believe that having watched "PIG" first adds to the strength of "1334", and I'm sure knowing more about Rozz Williams would add a ton as well. Sadly, I will have to do with the reference point I have, and I certainly feel that's enough. Since the first one was an exorcism for Rozz, this one is the exorcism for the people he knew. Check out "1334" if you want to feel what the people close to Rozz felt around the time of his death, or just have an interest in experimental filmmaking. Time will tell if this has the same lasting effect!