"Codex Atanicus" is a collection of the three most twisted short films by Spanish director Carlos Atanes. The three shorts, "Metaminds & Metabodies", "Morfing" and "Welcome to Spain" will take you into a movie universe few people have found before.
I didn't know what I was getting into when I contacted Carlos Atanes about getting a screener for his DVD collection "Codex Atanicus". I've seen plenty of surreal/art house films and I wasn't really expecting to be surprised. Shocked even. Not at graphic violence or violation, but at how different Carlos Atanes' movies are to anything I've ever seen. He has a certain way to confuse the flying fuck out of me, while still keeping me interested in whatever messed up situation is playing on the screen in front of me. I don't understand what he is trying to say, and I don't understand how he comes up with it, but I'm impressed.
The first short on the DVD, "Metaminds & Metabodies" is really hard to dissect and go through in detail. It's all taking place in a bar that is suppose to represent the waiting room for Hell... somehow, and it starts out with something that seems like a live performance where a girl is singing some strange song while being hooked into the wall through barbed wire. Meanwhile, a man is threatening her that he will eat a contract. Like I said, it first seemed like a live performance in the bar, but that kinda changed when the man gets shot after eating the contract and whatnot. Don't ask me what kind of contract it is, 'cause I don't know. Following scenes seemed pretty much random but I'm sure that Carlos Atanes had a point in all of this, and I would love to find out some day, but right now it all just seemed like random ideas put together. But, it offered some twisted moments, some gore and some naked chicks, so even if you don't understand what's going on, there's still some odd pleasures to find in this movie.
Moving over to the next short, "Morfing", and not really sure where to start on this one. The... ehum.. story, I suppose.. is alot easier to follow than in "Metaminds & Metabodies", but this is still nothing less than a huge "what the fuck?"-moment. It's basicly about a girl who has a camera man following her while she follows the director of these films, Carlos Atanes (yes, THESE films) while he is trying to get his new film "Morfing" into production. However, before she gets to discuss the movie with him, she finds him in the bathroom trying to hang himself. After convincing him he might as well give it another go, they set out to find people who wants to finance his film, and people to star in it. All of this sounds fairly normal, but I assure you that dialogue and random things they meet (girl with an alien-ish arm, man who dies after getting a bloody baby thrown at him, and so on) make it all too weird to explain. The short ends with the actual film that they are trying to get into production, and well.. It's basicly a minute or two long, with some more of the typical Carlos Atanes mono/dialogues and a shot of a girl getting drenched in what I think is suppose to be sperm. I really urge you to watch this movie as it's entertaining in both a strange way, and a highly comical way.
"Welcome To Spain" is my least favorite of these three art house films, but that's not me saying it's a bad film. It's definitely another strange ride, and when the words written on the front cover, "Three wild tales" were written down, they weren't kidding. Here we have another innovative short from this Spanish director that gives you absolutely no clues as to what he is trying to say, but you're intrigued and you want to find out what the reason for these things are. I can't say much about "Welcome To Spain", than that. Going into details with a film that basicly ends in a huge fight in a stairway where one guy masturbates to a photo, one swallows a nail and gets it pierced through his chin, and a girl biting a man's ass, is just not possible.
I'm gonna end this review with a well-deserved; WHAT THE FUCK?