Friday, July 8, 2022


A tale straight from the bible...
Snow White /

I don’t mean for all of my writing on Joel Potrykus to be attached to other filmmakers, but given what my blog is partially about (visual comparisons & connections), it’s kind of difficult to not focus on that.
To be clear - references, similarities & homages aside, I’m a big fan of his work. His openness about his influences just makes my appreciation that more heightened. He made a comparison video of his own films himself (click here). 

...but I think I found a few more visual similarities (or I could be reaching).

Last month we touched on a handful of visual similarities between Portykus’s films and everyone from Haneke & Alan Clarke to Murnau & Linklater (click here to go to the article). After exploring all of his feature films and reading a handful of interviews, I came across a few more homages & visual connections that I wanted to highlight…

In my review of The Alchemist Cookbook I brought up his nods to Alan Clarke (click here).

It doesn’t take much to realize I lift the openings to all my films from Clarke’s MADE IN BRITAIN and Haneke’s FUNNY GAMES - Joel Potrykus,

But it appears that his love of Clarke extends a bit beyond opening scene of This Is Britain

Elephant /

The Firm /

Road /

Road /

The way drug use & addiction are casually introduced in Potrykus’ early short film Coyote is similar to how Clarke handles the same subject matter in Christine… 

Christine / Coyote

This connection to Clarke led me to Harmony Korine who Potrykus has shouted in the past…

Gummo / Buzzard

Harmony Korine made it cool to use natural lighting - Joel Potrykus,

This connection makes sense as Korine is also an Alan Clarke Enthusiast…

If there is any British film maker that has influenced me, it’s Alan Clarke. For me he is the most important. He came out at a time in my life when I needed something like that - Harmony Korine, Vertigo Magazine

Rita, Sue& Bob Too /

For me Clarke was the most important filmmaker. He made this movie ‘Christine’, which people don't really talk about much, which is one of my favorite movies - Harmony Korine, Vice

Christine / Gummo

That earlier comparison to Gummo is not much of a reach but Potrykus has made it clear that the spaghetti scene in Buzzard was a reference to Kubrick…

The Movie Mezzanine: In the pantheon of movie spaghetti-eating scenes, you easily knock Harmony Korine's Gummo off the throne. It's this rare moment of happiness for Marty. Was that all done in one take?

JP: That's another really important scene, which is originally lifted from A Clockwork Orange when towards the end, [Alex is] all cleaned up and he's taking a shower and wearing a robe and eating spaghetti. He's happy like he's at home, right before they poison his wine. That scene is really important because that's Marty in a foreign environment, the only time we see him clean, and he's wearing white instead of black, and he's eating essentially real food as opposed to, you know, Hot Pockets or Bugles.
A Clockwork Orange/

The idea of a struggling comic that develops a weird growth on his body in Ape appears to borrow from The Dark Backward… 
The Dark Backward /

The basic premise of the main character with growth forming on his body also reminded me of How To Get Ahead In Advertising which I came to find out was an influence on Potrykus as well…

I saw this one at a young age, and it warped my taste in the best way possible - Joel Potrykus, Criterion 

How To Get Ahead In Advertising /

We touched on this in my review of The Anarchist Cookbook last month, but there’s some early Linklater in Potrykus' films...
It's Impossible To Learn How To Plow... /Coyote

While his latest feature Relaxer is a loose remake of Luis Bunuel’s The Exterminating Angel (the basic idea of not being to leave a room in Exterminating Angel is morphed in to not getting off of a couch in Relaxer)...

The Exterminating Angel / Relaxer

...the final scene where the main character takes on the form of a Christ-like figure has the DNA of what feels Bunuel’s entire filmography…

The Milky Way / Relaxer

L’Age D’Or / Relaxer

Simon Of The Desert / Relaxer

I try to steal a lot from Bunuel - Joel Potrykus,
Un Chien Andalou / Buzzard

We also see shades of everyone from Brian DePalma to John Landis…

                                                                  The Fury / Relaxer

I just spent a whole summer watching, like, two-hundred movies. And in there was American Werewolf in London, and that kind of changed a lot of things for me. Seeing that kind of blend of horror and comedy, and [director John] Landis going whatever direction he wanted - Joel Potrykus, 

American Werewolf In London / Coyote

Before the year is over I'll be sharing my thoughts on Buzzard but until then I just wanted to share a few more words (and comparisons) on a filmmaker I've quickly come to admire.


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