Notorious German filmmaker Marian Dora’s 2014 shocker Carcinoma receives a new lease of life in a limited release by TetroVideo. Marian Dora doesn’t do happy movies and this is no exception.
A terminally ill cancer patient refuses therapy from doctors and let’s his body gradually decay and his condition deteriorate beyond the point of return. The film starts with a burning candle, symbolising light in the darkness of life. Candles are sometimes lit in time of death and it sets us off on a path of despair.
The man does not fear death, instead he embraces it instead of trying to get better. He tries to maintain a sexual relationship with his partner despite his body starting to fall apart and he tries to maintain a normal life when his mental stability deteriorates. Expect to be taken to a very dark head space as the films bleakness grows at a dangerous pace. Much like Dora’s other work, the film is hard-hitting and visceral to levels most viewers will not feel comfortable watching.
There is almost always an element of danger which comes with watching Marian Dora’s films but he manages to deliver an unforgettable experience that most filmmakers strive to replicate. The film is extremely well shot, arguably Dora’s best looking film and the production values are consistently high from the visuals to the score to the acting. However, don’t be fooled by the inviting aesthetics as the subject matter is intended to make you ill. The practical effects are very realistic and will no doubt turn your stomach no matter what you’ve seen before.
Carcinoma does things which trigger inner feelings which you may not realise you had. There is a mixture of empathy and anger as you watch a man willingly let an illness take his life away from him without as much as a fight. There is an un-calm atmosphere which is both disturbing and uncomfortable to endure and it will make you feel on edge.
A snake features heavily during important scenes, slithering across shots and adding to the unsettling atmosphere. Be warned, there are some fairly graphic live-feeding scenes where the snake kills its prey and we see every last gasp of the helpless victims breath. It is a hard watch and may be too much for most viewers to stomach but the snake is used as symbolism for a creative life force and flirting with death. A snake sheds its skin, much like the man who is gradually losing his to a brutal and uncompromising illness.
Carcinoma is Dora’s most polished and provocative piece of extreme cinema which hits hard and pounds you mercilessly. It is an extremely uneasy watch but it really messes with your mind and makes you think. If you are looking for something which will take you to a dark place; this is it.
Carcinoma is now available to buy on DVD via TetroVideo.