Kiss Napoleon Goodbye despite all its inane depravity is indeed hard to look away from – it’s like a punk rock car wreck. A short art film by artist and filmmaker Babeth (aka Babeth Mondini vanLoo), there’s not much substance to be had. Henry Rollins, (self-admittedly) not the greatest actor, basically fucks and fights his way through the film – and he’s not overly great at either act. In fact, for a ripped, Oak tree trunk of a guy his most menacing moment is the reveal of his now infamous “Search and Destroy” back tattoo.
The story is filmed and edited with an obvious and direct influence on the post-punk, spoken word craze that was happening in the late 80s/early 90s. For a great sampling of some of the spoken word art that Rollins, lead actress (and writer) Lydia Lunch and the other male lead, Don Bajema, put together around that same time, check out this link over at the Brunski Beats blog and download an entire out-of-print spoken word compilation from Lunch’s own Widowspeak label, crica 1990.
If you are convinced you want to take a chance on the super low-budget, poorly acted and edited, but impressively set designed and photographed slice of cinema, see it for the gloriously warped and creepy music by Jim G. (aka “JG”) Thirlwell. Digging up the soundtrack to this film on vinyl (if it even exists) would be a real prize. You get the impression this film was supported and saw the light of day probably because Babeth (a Warhol alum) was chummy with the veritable who’s who of underground angsty artists of the 80s, she inserts randomly placed scenes which seem to do nothing more that linger on their characters in (sometimes) ridiculous poses or scenarios. The only reason this film retains any cult stature is because of who’s in it. Pass.