By: Mark Barber
Swiss surrealist H. R. Giger was something of a phantom, often disappearing into one of the many nooks and crannies of his own home. Yet, what makes Giger so unique and compelling–both as an artist and as a person–is another elusive phantom in Belinda Sallin’s Dark Star: HR Giger’s World.
Dark Star disappoints not in its reasonably zealous adoration of Giger’s cyborg nightmares, but in its simplistic analytical approach to both himself and his works, the latter of which is invariably discussed in psychoanalytic terms by friends and academics interviewed in the film. Regardless, lazily taking the Freudian route is logical, given the overwhelming phallicism represented in his work. Sallin, for her credit, does manage to locate some of the affective power of Giger’s art in a key scene where his emotional fans line up to receive autographs, some visibly crying as they receive his signature.
Dark Star’s exploration of Giger’s personal life is similarly faint in its illumination on how death has shaped and influenced his work. The suicide of his former girlfriend sticks out as a defining point in Giger’s life, but its connection to his work and Giger’s own personal philosophy remains ambiguous.
Despite its aimlessness, Dark Star will satisfy some fans of Giger’s work, but others will yearn for something more substantial.