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    Ira Cohen – The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda

    February 21st, 2009

    Ira Cohen - The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda.

    The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda is a 20-minute art film directed by Ira Cohen in 1968. It features a bit of straightforward footage that alternates with a whole lot of trippy, twisted mylar reflection and split screen techniques. The stars of this show are grotesquely attired humans who are completely covered in outlandish, over-the-top, Eastern-inspired costumes, make-up and masks. As they writhe around in a seething fairytale opium den full of equally bizarre and intricate backdrops and surroundings, these troubadours of the visual cortex blow bubbles, taste butterflies, light up opium pipes with a demonic candle and dance the day away in a most surreal way. And when the mylar scenes kick in, the proceedings explode into infinite kaleidoscopic dimensions of hyper-reality. It’s breathtaking and breathgiving all at once. And it looks not so much like it was filmed in the ’60s, but rather some sort of strange, eternal dream state.

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