Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Just saw the best punk movie I have ever seen. Como Ves? (What Do You Think?) was made in Mexico City in 1985. It is less of a narrative and more a bunch of vignettes that center around the thriving punk scene in the barrio interspersed with performances by a few bands.

Paul Leduc directed Como Ves? and also the 1986 Frida. While Como Ves? is worth watching for the time capsule of punk that it is, it also is really beautiful.

This is what the show space was like.

This is what the circle pits looked like:

Some local punks:

My favorite punk, with a GIANT scar

There are some really sexy parts, some pretty violent parts, but the one of the most outstanding scenes centers around the punks going to a drag show.  The Queen performing blew my mind. 

Towards the end of the movie, punks steal a cop car and hijack a plane to party on. There is a riot outside where everyone is dancing with babies, sitting on each other's shoulders, playing music and chanting "FUCKERS!"

 Here is CECILA TOUSSAINT playing during the hijacking.

Cecila Toussaint is a huge babe. She and my favorite punk have a great love scene where she tries to bite his ankle.

Here is another clip of her singing in the movie. Check those high notes! and her cool teeth!

 Facets put this movie out earlier this year. The quality of the movie and also the subtitles are horrible (a common problem with Facets' releases Hannah pointed out). But, nonetheless, Como Ves? offers a variety of compelling scenes and a peak into a less represented moment of punk culture. It has all the antiauthoritarian strike and strife of Over the Edge (and even the same half shirts Matt Dillon sports) but in a context that is not about suburban blandness and all male revolt. The barrio setting and the presence of hard labor informs the movie without making it overly didactic. Labor is not the focus of the movie and it is not absent either as is the case in many Hollywood movies. Women are agents in the petty crimes, the hijacking, and the music. Queerness isn't written out of the rebellion or the experience of coming of age.
Explicitly critical of classism, Como Ves? isn't about how hard it is to be poor. It's not the kind of movie about poverty where one member of an oppressed group achieves some uplift out of misery. The movie offers that classic slice-of-life of the neighborhood. It's like the trope of the apartment building's fourth wall falling and the guy in the showercap is revealed in the tub and everyone is caught in media res. There is an implicit argument through the composition of the vignettes about the fullness of life, the pettiness of circumstance, and the necessary escape of self-made fun. All that punk shit.

I'm still trying to work out my interpretation of the climactic scene where the the hijackers are put on TV and they just don't know what to say. The movie is called "Como Ves?" which is literally translated "as you see." It is used colloquially in a question to mean "what do you think?" There comes a moment when these kids who demanded to be heard are thrust in front of the cameras and  have nothing to say, no demands to the mass public. Then, after a panicked moment, they are taken over by the authorities. That is the best way to end a punk movie I can imagine -it is the tragic punk(and youth angst) parable. The movie is bookended by the longish single-shot scenes of two drunks hanging out in disused stacks of cement tubing that get a little too Waiting for Godot for me. But, that is probably the only thing that I would call a major flaw -where the movie tries something and fails. All the other imperfections seems to keep within the tone and even add to it. I just love it. If you don't have access to a video store as good as Lost Weekend or Plan 9 to rent the movie, you can still watch it and for free! It is available on youtube in 5 parts.

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