• Carcinoma (Marian Dora Collection) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Marian Dora Collection
    Released on: May, 2019.
    Directed by: Marian Dora
    Cast: Dorian Piquardt, Thomas Goersch, Carina Palmer, Curdd Berger, Ulli Lommel
    Year: 2014
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    Carcinoma – Movie Review:

    German provocateur Marian Dora’s 2014 film Carcinoma is named after the type of cancer that Dorian (Dorian Piquardt) is diagnosed with. As cancer is wont to do, it slowly but very, very surely starts to kill him and as it does, the tumor that grows inside him becomes an obsession of a very perverse kind. He lives with his girlfriend, Carina (Carina Palmer), their sex life is strange and occasionally involves his pet boa constrictor getting involved. When Dorian gets diagnosed he opts not to stay in the hospital to receive proper treatment, he instead wants to spend the time he has left living his life. This involves everything from trying to keep things together with Carina to going to a gay sex club with his friend Julien (Thomas Goersch).

    As Dorian’s situation gets increasingly worse over the two year stretch that the film covers, he goes through various stages of anger, denial , depression and then, as he comes to eventually accept the inevitability of his own mortality, he, in a sense, accepts his fate which ultimately brings the film to its shocking and somehow poignant conclusion.

    Like all of Dora’s work, this can be a difficult film to watch. However, while it is certainly not for the squeamish, in many ways it is considerably more restrained than many of his other pictures. Yes, there’s still an obsession with scatology and with bodily fluids and yes, there’s weird imagery with dolls and there’s plenty of full frontal nudity but there is more to this than just grotesque shock value (although that is clearly a large part of the film’s objective – to shock its audience). There’s a pensive vibe to it, as we see this man, who knows he has limited time left and who knows his body is basically revolting against him, dealing with the range of emotions and physical changes. The film does emphasize his suffering to a large degree, self-inflicted and otherwise.

    Visually, the film follows Dora’s style from previous films. The cinematography is often very soft, almost dreamlike a times, and there’s very often a border present in the frame that points your eyes exactly where he wants them to focus. The instrumental score is excellent, it has a sense of sadness to it and enhances the contrast that the film uses. A prime example being some serene footage of a river with some ducks on it, beautiful leaves falling down while a piano plays a mellow refrain in the background, the camera then showing off some beautiful old architecture. This then shifts into footage of Dorian at work at a waste disposal site pollution and then a graveyard, the same music playing behind it. The visual tone shifts while the music stays the same, until it stops altogether and we’re left with the sounds of Dorian back at work.

    Note that the film does contain some animal violence as there’s footage here of the boa chocking rabbits and rodents. It’s likely intended to be a metaphor for Dorian’s condition but it’s still unpleasant to watch.

    Carcinoma – Blu-ray Review:

    Carcinoma arrives on region free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc. This is, not just tonally but visually as well, an extremely dark film. The vast majority of it takes place in dimly lit interiors and what is in the frame is often shrouded in darkness. This is clearly intention on the point of Dora, but it does help to know that going in. if you were expecting ‘Blu-ray demo material’ this isn’t it. That said, this is presumably a very solid representation of the source material. Close up shots, when lit specifically to do so, can show off very strong detail and there’s good color reproduction throughout, so long as you keep in mind the grim color scheme that’s been selected for the production.

    The German language audio track, which is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio format with optional subtitles available in English only, sounds good. An optional German language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is also included. The 5.1 track is the way to go if you have the hardware to handle it. There’s some nice directional effects present here and things are spread out nicely and effectively. There aren’t any problems with any hiss or distortion, the track is well balanced and the dialogue is clean.

    Extras start off with a three-minute piece called Video that is essentially a series of clips from the feature film. Accompanying this are two short films made by Dora, the first of which is the eight-minute Vita Minima. In this piece we see very graphic footage of a man undergoing some rather unpleasant surgical procedure. The second short is the seven-minute Science and it features some equally unpleasant footage of a ‘scientist’ decked out in medical garb experimenting on a few different animals in what looks like a filthy slaughterhouse. There’s no dialogue here to give any of it context but Dora’s penchant for creating content that unsettles is on full display.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is a trailer for the feature, menus (available in German and English) and chapter selection.

    Carcinoma – The Final Word:

    Carcinoma, like all of Dora’s films, is a tough watch. It’s uncomfortable and unpleasant viewing, but fans of boundary pushing extreme cinema will appreciate the way that the film approaches its subject matter while more sensitive viewers most certainly will not. A strange mix of arthouse style and exploitative horror, it’s a film you won’t soon forget and the Blu-ray presents the film in a good presentation with a few interesting extras.

    Click on the images below for full sized Carcinoma Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. AngelGuts's Avatar
      AngelGuts -
      Thanks for the review, Ian. I'm adding this to my Dora archive. :-)