Zoned Out: The Films of F.J. Ossang

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French filmmaker F.J. Ossang is in many ways an underground directorpar excellence– his highly stylized, often-hallucinatory films are intensely personal and uncompromising, and his work is known – in North America in any case – only to a small but passionate band of devotees. Though Ossang has been directing films since the early 1980s, his filmography consists of only five features and five shorts. This is no wonder though, given that he has also released numerous albums with his band MKB (Messageros Killer Boys) Fraction Provisoire, and has written some twenty books. Nevertheless, he has returned to the cinema on a regular basis over the past 35 years, creating a body of work that constitutes an uncanny mixture of Tarkovsky and H.G. Wells, Jean Cocteau and Guy Maddin, German Expressionism and American noir, with the whole wild, stylized brew set to a soundtrack of Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Tuxedomoon, and other seminal post-punk, new wave, and industrial bands. Infused with a (distinctively European inflected) punk sensibility, Ossang’s films predominantly take the form of dystopic science fiction tales, rendered via unapologetically low-budget production values and a laconic, minimalist style that oscillates between earnest and comically deadpan.