High Five: Theodore Collatos

blog_theadorecollatos_2-1The DIPSO director’s Fandor favorites are a fascinating medley of Mario Bava, Werner Herzog, Shirley Clarke, and more! 

The forthcoming feature and recent Indiewire Project of the Day Tormenting the Hen finds a compelling cast of characters, including  FIXer and Fandor fave Josephine Decker in a small role and Matthew Shaw of Dipso in the lead, possibly going insane against the backdrop of the beautiful Berkshires, and director Theodore Collatos shot it in just six days. Why? Because films are expensive and time-consuming to make…unless you work smart. And Collatos definitely works smart.

He also makes very smart work! His short film Time and the aforementioned Dipso, both available on Fandor, are naturalistic portrayals of life behind bars and beyond (prison life and post-prison life), treated compassionately and with a nuance that enhances their compelling realism. If these sensitive and insightful efforts are any indication, Tormenting the Hen will be an incredible sophomore feature. Collatos is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help with the film’s post-production costs, and you can get all kinds of great rewards — including free months of Fandor — for contributing!

We asked this passionate DIY director to share his favorite Fandor films with us, and he obliged with five impressive and diverse picks. While they couldn’t be more different from one another, each of these movies speaks to Collatos’ investment in human drama as it unfolds the less-visible corners of society. Check them out:

1. Wake in Fright (1971) dir. Ted KotcheffwakeinfrightBrilliantly hard-boiled and beautifully composed, it illuminates the will for freedom with the only option being the allure of alcohol and crazed nights of rural living. It steps on your throat and doesn’t let up…

“My “Top 10” has been on lockdown since I can remember, until I uncovered this full blown masterpiece on Fandor! Thematically in the same spirit as my film Dipso, it floored me like a happy hour shot/beer combo. Warning: Not for the faint of heart (I believe animals may have been harmed).”

2. Portrait of Jason (1967) dir. Shirley ClarkejasonProof positive: You may deceive your friends… You may deceive your family and colleagues…but you can never deceive the camera…

“Few films transcend time like Portrait of Jason. Besides the beautifully grainy 16mm, Jason’s power and charisma jump through the screen and it feels like you’re in the room with the crew. This film made me laugh, gave me goose bumps, made me suspicious,  and even made me tear up. This film’s raw vulnerability is a beyond-impressive declaration.”

A Bay of Blood (1971) dir. Mario BavabayofbloodIf you can get beyond the violence, there’s something much more sublime at work here — themes of class and the corruption of money and inheritance.

“I’ll admit it, I use to hate horror films. But A Bay of Blood, a psychedelic art-murder slasher that clearly was a direct influence on Friday the 13th and all that followed, is so artfully crafted that it helped reverse my assumptions.”

I watched this on television at 4 am and I thought I was dreaming.

4. A Time For Drunken Horses (2000) dir. Bahman GhobadidrunkenhorsesThis film totally surrounds your mind and your senses and paralyzes your soul by the end.

“This story is so tough that you need drunken horses to climb the snowy ridge. I saw this film in the theater when it came out and I’m afraid to watch it again, it’s so heart-wrenching. I will never forget it and neither will you. If this film doesn’t make your heart go out to the people in this region of this world, I don’t know what will.”

5.  Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) dir. Werner Herzogsilencedarkness It’s hard to even speak words about a film like this — just go and watch it now!

“I’m not usually one for movies ‘about the human spirit’ but damn it, this film is so touching. It’s about a wonderful woman who is blind and mute and dedicates her life to helping others with the same affliction, thus easing their pain and loneliness. So powerful. Cinema should have been stopped after this film was made.”
As a profession, my mother worked with children with special needs. Watching this film makes me realize what heart she has.

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