What Is It?
|What Is It?|
|Directed by||Crispin Glover|
|Produced by||Crispin Glover
|Written by||Crispin Glover|
|Editing by||Crispin Glover|
|Distributed by||Volcanic Eruptions|
|Running time||72 minutes|
What Is It? is the name of a 2005 surrealist film written, starring, funded and directed by Crispin Glover. It is described by IMDb as "The adventures of a young man whose principal interests are snails, salt, a pipe, and how to get home. As tormented by an hubristic, racist inner psyche." As of 2008, the film has only been shown at independent theaters, typically accompanied by a question-and-answer session, a one-hour dramatic narration of eight different profusely illustrated books-slideshow, and meet-and-greet/book signing with Glover.
The film boasts an eclectic and unusual cast. Porn stars Kiva and Zoryna Dreams, as well as several other women, appear nude wearing animal heads. Most of the principal actors have Down syndrome (though this condition is not addressed in the film). Fairuza Balk lends her voice to a real snail, and Glover's role in the film is officially described as "Dueling Demi-God Auteur and The young man's inner psyche." The film includes images of a painting of a prepubescent Shirley Temple in the nude, and songs by cult leader Charles Manson and racist singer Johnny Rebel, and deals with many types and symbols of racism and prejudice. Glover defended his choices of imagery in a 2005 interview: "It's a film to help start these kinds of discussions. What is taboo, and what does that mean for the culture itself when taboo is ubiquitously excised in corporately funded and distributed film? A culture will die a death of stupidity if it doesn't have different points of view and questions that are raised." Glover made clear when touring with the film that he had no plans to sell it to a major studio nor release for home viewing.
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