Joshua Whitehead’s FULL-METAL INDIGIQUEER’s title is a concise mission statement of his collection of experimental poetry focused on issues of Indigenous identity, queerness, digital literacy, pop culture, and more.
His words are interwoven with ornate use of non-alphanumeric type — often utilized to display pseudo-code or mimic machine-to-machine communication — as well as visual design motifs: echoed photocopies of photographs; an extended opening entitled ‘birthing sequence’ that initially appears to be a static iris-in on a collection of colons; stark line art; also unconventional use of whitespace.
In lesser hands, this approach could come across as gimmicky, but the design, formatting, and excessive use of punctional help to tease out the underlying tension of each piece, emphasizing fracturing, splintering, disassociation, dissonance, and more.
The result is an array of powerfully pieces that, as a whole, makes for a substantial and intensely emotional read.
(hoopla/Prime/tubi/VOD) The few folks who saw this film after first being exposed to Werner Herzog via his masterful documentary GRIZZLY MAN must have walked out of the theater feeling very confused. THE WILD BLUE YONDER doesn’t fall into Herzog’s lighthearted docudramas, but instead lands closer to his doomsaying visual photo montages, such as the better known LESSONS OF DARKNESS (1992) which took an abstracted, hellish look at the oil fields and general destruction of nature in Kuwait after the Gulf War.
THE WILD BLUE YONDER goes one step further by bringing in Andromedan extraterrestrial Brad Dourif as your personal tour guide through arctic and NASA footage. Herzog’s always been exceptional at crafting visual narratives, but having Dourif here to verbally stitch the montages together is a real treat. That said, if you’re looking for anything resembling a proper narrative, look elsewhere. My wife and I debate to this day as to whether the Gene Siskel Film Center accidentally played the reels out of order.