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Cool-Lookin' Ken Receives Poor Reception at Cannes
 
 
By Jeremy Mathews, Jamie Gadette, and Luciano Marzulli Vargas
 
 

ool-Lookin’ Ken, wearing some schnazzy white shoes that he stole from a Donny Osmond doll, expressed anger over his film “The Brown Spittoon’s” reception at the 56th Annual Cannes Film Festival last week.


“People just don’t want to understand filmmakers who are 80 years ahead of their time,” said the disgruntled Ken at a press conference in the Palais de Festival.


The seven-hour film consists mostly of a point-of-view shot of Ken riding his rickety bicycle from Shanghai, China, to Beijing, China. Unfortunately, because Ken’s parents banned activities that might encourage his overt homosexuality during his childhood, he was never allowed to ride a bicycle and is thus a very poor cyclist. He falls down 78 times during the film, adding to its already hefty length. Why his character chose to ride a bike in the first place is a mystery.


“It’s called art, moron,” said Ken when asked about the ride during the press conference. “Riding the bicycle is like a simile—wait…yeah, simile—as to whether I am fated to ride a bicycle or if it’s my choice. So the audience has to decide if they’re fated to watch the end of my movie so that they can boo, or choose to walk out like a bunch of assholes..”


Also contributing to the length, Ken goes on a futile existential quest to get his shoes spit-shined after the bicycle chain dirties them. “I didn’t explain why the shoes needed to be clean because I thought the audience could add their own experience and imagination to the interpretation of the film,” Ken said. “It’s also a comment on the Chinese tradition of spitting and how the SARS epidemic has permitted yet another censorship—the freedom to spit.”

 
  Ken, still looking for someone to shine his shoes, enjoys the Cinema de la Plage at Cannes before the negative public response to his film, "The Brown Spittoon," spoils his trip to Cannes and gets him arrested for spitting.
   


In the film, the repression of China’s glorious spitting legacy takes a front seat as Ken can’t even find someone to spit-shine his shoes, let alone to have a distance spitting competition, a theme Ken described as “another simile.”


Six hours in, Ken decides to take matters into his own hands and spit shines his shoes himself. This inspires the first bit of action in the film. In an act of defiance, Ken’s character, played by Ken, stops in front of a battalion of military officers all getting their shoes shined sans spit and proceeds to spit-shine his own shoes. He is then bludgeoned and thrown in jail.


“The best part is when they actually beat him,” said Variety, “because if you stick it out that long, you’re really rooting for the cops.”


According to Ken, he threw a running camera into a dozen brutal military officers. “It cost me $3 million for that scene alone,” he said. “But that doesn’t make any difference to you jerks.”


Once in jail, Ken’s character sits around for 45 minutes, all alone, occasionally saying “Why’d you have to leave me, Amaryllis, why?” Then, a man, played by Donald Sevigny (Chloe’s brother), suddenly appears in a prison and gives Ken a blow job through his skin-colored underwear. When the man spits afterwards, the cops arrest him and Ken makes a run for it on bicycle, only to ride off a cliff. Near his body is a brown spittoon.


One of the most outspoken booers at the screening sat through the entire credits in order to boo everybody involved in the film. “He made the key grip cry,” Ken said.
jeremy@red-mag.com
jamie@red-mag.com
lou@red-mag.com