Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Cerritosis (2007)

Cerritosis is a short film from Enity Films that is so nightmarishly whimsical and surrealistically stylish that you can’t help but think what a successful career filmmaker Steven Cerritos has in front of him.

The film opens with old photographs of grotesquely disfigured babies, children and adults. Ballooned heads, conjoined twins, strange growths and abnormal body parts are all on display. Then a dictionary definition pops up on the screen, stating what Cerritosis is.

Then, we meet Roach Far, who is crunching on an apple on a park bench. A Microsoft employee, Mr. Smith, sits down beside him and the two chat for a brief few minutes. When Far begins going off on meeting Bill Gates, Mr. Smith excuses himself. Upon returning home, Far finds an unmarked CD on his doorstep. He pops it into his computer and a creepy, masked entity comes onto the screen, reveling in his exquisite pain and asking Far to become his brother in pain. Far has had enough and runs out of his house and hitches a ride into the nearest city. Here he begins having frightening hallucinations, one of a grinning man playing a piano, another of a man shaving off strips of his skin and yet another of a man hacking something up with a large cleaver. Far admits he’s a freak, and is in fact suffering from the rare Cerritosis and having hallucinations, experiencing schizophrenia and paranoia. Cerritosis is Far’s descent into madness…

Besides the striking imagery and the surreal atmosphere of the film, one of the first things you may notice is that the entire movie is in Japanese with English subtitles. This is just another layer that adds to the surreal and disorienting feel of the film that mirrors Far’s deteriorating state of mind. The strange language choice works strikingly well within the short film.

As for the “look” of the film, everything is saturated in sepia tones with the exception of Far’s hallucinations, which are drenched in bright blues, greens and reds. Filmmaker Steven Cerritos has also gone for a “grindhouse” aesthetic, with lines, scratches and dirt, which lends itself well to the detached and distant feel of the film.

Also, make sure to check out the trailer for the film, which features some amazing artwork by Dimitar Bochukov, who also designed the DVD artwork. Bochukov’s artwork is both unsettling and unusual. I do hope to see more from this artist.

Cerritosis is a very short film, with a run time of just 12 minutes. In fact, my only complaint with the film is that it wasn’t longer, because when it ended, I was left with my jaw on the ground.

Cerritosis is a dizzying descent into madness whose visceral visuals are like a nightmare come to life.

Enity Films Official Site

Cerritosis Official Site

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