An egg from outer space arrives in the village of Vigasio and quickly starts spreading a virus amongst the people. To investigate and hopefully resolve this problem, Agent Danger is sent in and he too becomes infected by the virus. Even though Dr. Munoz offers ersatz to Danger to help with his fight, it becomes apparent that help is needed in the form of Danger's ex-partner, Eva. Although Eva herself going to need a little help to fight off this evil and save Danger from the Soft Machine.
I think anyone who genuinely follows obscure and independent productions has probably seen Sebastiano Montresor's movies floating around on the internet. While a lot of filmmakers fight tooth and nail for a distribution deal, Sebastiano is part of a rare breed who simply wants you to see his work and makes it available to everyone. Both Ronny and myself were aware of his movies, but for me, I hadn't actually seen any of them. When Sebastiano reached out to Film Bizarro for possible reviews, it seemed like it was as good of a time as any to delve into his rather unusual work. And I figured I'd start off with his second feature, "VigasioSexploitation Vol. 1" as it is the one title that's sort of remained in the back of my mind since the first time I read about it.
In the village of Vigasio, an egg from outer space has appeared and is having a strange affect on the surrounding people. Agent Danger investigates the anomaly and discovers that there is a virus going around, creating a strange effect that Dr. Munoz refers to as the Soft Machine. Soon Danger also finds himself being drawn into this so called Soft Machine and is being plagued by a ghostly woman. Now Danger's ex-partner, Eva, is called into the fight to help combat this unknown force but will need the mystic chainsaw to help her reach her goal.
I'll be honest, my initial reaction to "VigasioSexploitation" after it was over was simply: "Huh. Well, that was weird." I actually didn't know what to make of it at first. I had some reservations at first going into the movie since I thought there was a good chance of it being nothing more than a backyard movie using the label of "experimental" to cover up the fact, that it was a movie that was nothing more than "weird" for the sake of being weird. That wasn't the case thankfully, and the further the movie went along the more I found myself enjoying "VigasioSexploitation" because it was oddly fun.
That's sort of where the movie first got me thinking after it was over. I was trying to figure out what "VigasioSexploitation" was exactly. It is a well made experimental movie but there's more to it than that; it blends a few different genres and elements together. There is a noir style to it with a health dose of science-fiction. But then there is also this tongue-in-cheek nature to it; almost as if Sebastiano is poking at the sometimes pretentious nature of experimental cinema. However, it's the kind of satire that can only come from the type of person who has a genuine understanding of the source material. By that I mean that Sebastiano is someone who could make a straight forward experimental movie, if there is even such a thing, if were to choose to do so. Instead it seems he chose to take his movie in a different direction and be a bit more silly than serious with the material.
"VigasioSexploitation" very easily could have been a complete mess because it is this unusual combination of comedic-science fiction-noir-experimental-arthouse movie. Yet, somehow, Sebastiano managed to successfully take the various parts of those styles and make a cohesive piece. And amazingly enough, while it features a non-linear storyline it was still coherent in the delivery of the plot. But, then again, there's more to "VigasioSexploitation" than a movie about a guy named Danger, a space egg and the Soft Machine. Something that I didn't realize in the beginning while I was watching the movie and something that wasn't obvious until I started reading more up on the movie, particularly a company manifesto.
Originally, I thought "VigasioSexploitation" was just this strange but amusing hodgepodge of various forms of movies but then going through the website of "VigasioSexploitation" and reading up on the Agrestic Cinema manifesto, it seemed like everything began to click. A movie that seemed to be nothing more than an amusingly oddball flick was far more intelligent than what I was giving it credit for. "VigasioSexploitation" exists more as a reflection of the ideals of this Agrestic Cinema movement. Where the movie seemed random and nonsensical, Sebastiano was actually creating metaphors (usually visual) to represent the different aspects of Agrestic Cinema.
It exists as a challenge to the mediocrity of any creative medium. In general, arthouse and experimental films aim to go about creating and presenting movies in a way that differs from the standard. While "VigasioSexploitation" features a few different genres on the surface, the movie is actually challenging each of the standardized structures of those genres, even artistic driven films themselves. It may sound pretentious, but it is done in a very creative way by striving to have fun with this ideal and this concept. It's why the female-specter walks around in the movie with a box of dish soap on her head. It's why the Dr. Munoz character wears a pig-mask and a mink. It's why there's a mummy. Certainly at face value these things are just very ridiculous elements of an abstract and absurd movie. However, you can begin to see and understand the parallels between this idea of Agrestic Cinema and "VigasioSexploitation". Hell, it's even more than parallels, it's the reason for its being. The characters in the movie are representing the problems -- suppression of a desire for something more -- that Agrestic Cinema is offering a solution to. And somehow Sebastian managed to find a way to express this concept within a movie that walks a fine line between weirdo-experiment and amusingly off-beat science fiction.
Or, another and simpler way to look at it is that Sebastian Montresor made "VigasioSexploitation" the way he wanted to make a movie. It is what experimental cinema is all about: not limiting one's self to the imposed standardization of what a movie supposedly should be and making it what you want it to be. "VigasioSexploitation" is done correctly in that it allows the viewer to see the movie how they want to see it. Someone could watch it and only find the very absurd and humorous take on an agent combating a virus born from a space egg. Or another person could see the movie as an experimental piece that is challenging a problem that it sees with conventions, and the philosophy of this idea. Personally, I enjoyed that there was both all the while still being bizarrely interesting and amusing. It's not mindless nor is it pretentious. It's an intelligently constructed movie where a director made the kind of movie they wanted to see, regardless of what the norm is, and that's ultimately the biggest factor in the enjoyment of "VigasioSexploitation Volume 1".