I Doco Dare You To Enter Roger Ballen's ASYLUM OF THE BIRDS
Renowned photographer Roger Ballen was born in the US, but has lived in South Africa since the 1970's, where he photographs the inhabitants of society's boondocks. A short doco (documentary) about Ballen's work on Asylum Of The Birds, the new monograph he is publishing this month, is now available to watch in full. Like Ballen's own work, the film is disturbing and delirious and delightfully demented, providing glimpses of Ballen's method and the secret worlds in which he works.
The film was shot and directed by South African documentarian Ben Jay Crossman, who has made a number of riveting short docos, most notably the three-part Streets Of Fietas, about life in the forgotten corners of drug- and crime-addled suburban South African. Crossman's work shares much in common interest with Ballen's, and his film-making craft has attained new heights with this project. I look forward to seeing what his gathering momentum produces in the future.
Ballen himself directed an award-winning and hugely successful short last year; the music video for I Fink You Freaky by Die Antwoord, South Africa's zef rap rave phenomenon. Though Ballen's work is by no means obscure, as evidenced by his recent exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of African Art, titled "Lines, Marks, and Drawings: Through the Lens of Roger," his collaboration with Die Antwoord has garnered over 40 million views and brings his work to a massive new audience. Whether they will have the stomach for this level of weird is doubtful. At ScreenAnarchy, however, we thrive on weird; likely Asylum For The Birds is just what the witch doctor ordered for you.