Curtains: A Short Mighty Boosh-related Art Film

Julian Barratt Makes Art Flick

Why would you go to see this short, grim, arty little black comedy? No reason I can think of, unless perhaps you are an avid, passionate, slightly drooling Mighty Boosh fangirl. Quite a decent sized niche market, then! The film is directed by Julian Barratt – yes, the Boosh’s own Howard Moon. It was made in 2008 and was recently shown at the Leeds Film Festival as part of a series of three Boosh-related entertainments. I was dragged along to see it and vastly enjoyed the other two flicks. I made a special exception for this one.

Anyone expecting hilarious light-hearted surreal japes due to the Boosh connection may be a trifle disappointed. Light-hearted it isn’t. I didn’t personally find it massively hilarious, either, though most of the audience were whooping it up.

The film follows the misadventures of an ageing Punch & Judy man, following his lonely, disconnected peripatetic trail from seaside town to seaside town. He is clearly a miserable failure in life without being particularly miserable: good for him as far as that goes. In fact he’s quite a cheery and friendly soul, suffering surprisingly little from anomie, though no advertisement for NHS dentistry.


Photo credit: Ella Mullins (Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.)
Photo credit: Ella Mullins (Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.)

Death Is A Funny Thing

Without intent or malice, he spreads death and disaster wherever he goes, and along the way is forced to dispose of several corpses. This is easier said than done: eventually he just takes them along with him as travelling companions. His actual Punch and Judy show is grim, a traditional entertainment that itself dwells on violence and death as the real-life incidents point up.

The film dwells on the ugly, the tragic, the banal and the petty. I don’t want to get all Mary Whitehouse on your hinie: I’m not looking to pretend that we live in a cosy Daily Mail world where everyone is rich, white, attractive, charming and living in a fabulously expensive designer village, and if they’re not they’d better shut up and know their place. That Daily Mail columnist headspace is its own kind of hell.

I’m not dissing the aesthetically challenged amongst us, either. Why would I, I’m one of them. I’m just easily depressed and this film made me glum and sad, and didn’t make me laugh. It’s okay, I don’t have to live in Julian Barratt’s mind, and judging by this I wouldn’t want to either. Thank God for the Mighty Boosh, guys. Imagine if Noellie wasn’t around to lighten the Barratt the hell up.

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