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Review: Dark Star: HR Giger’s World

Dark Star: HR Giger’s World is a film that reminds the viewer of something of a twisted take on the Johnny Cash video for Hurt. Dark Star finds the man who designed the Alien sculptures for director Ridley Scott in the seventies in the later years of his life, at something of a peaceful and reflective interlude.

But there is perhaps less moralizing than the Cash video in this capture of “Hansruedi”, as the main takeaway is that his art and work inspired people, from his ponytailed assistant, to those strangers coming to his signing appearances, who lift their shirts to unearth representations of his art, and leave with quivering hands and stunned silence.

There is a sense of disquiet running through Belinda Sallin’s thoughtful and at times frightening documentary. This unease though, comes from a long-ago unresolved spectre in Giger’s life, as he seems to be as content as most septuagenarians appear to be. His much-younger wife Carmen stands by his side, his assistants speak of the strangeness of his house with great reverence, and most of all, his art, freakish and yet beautiful captures of humans interlaced with machines and a deep gaze into the macabre still hold up nicely.

They are even greater when ruminated upon and shown in intense close-ups. This is very much a grown-up film with adult subject matter, and demands close attention when to turn away in disgust may be a much easier reaction to Giger’s life’s works.

Yet one gets the feel of a sense of remove, on which Sallin could perhaps not articulate, (or perhaps Hansruedi would not let her articulate), the sense of mystery and foreboding surrounding the man.

The curious divide between art and artists remains and though this film is a shooting star, through no fault, the viewer is still left searching in the dark for further clues.

But there is a pretty amazing cat, Muggi, shown throughout this dark world, perhaps humanizing the man a little.

[star v=3]