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This article was published 17/8/2006 (4814 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The fare on view at Cinematheque at 9 p.m. will satisfy anyone doing an inventory of commodities found in typical underground movie fare: Black-and-white footage, punk-rock soundtrack, immoral behaviour, deviant sexuality, do-it-yourself esthetics — check, check, check, check and check.
But Asmundson's cinematic output isn't necessarily just a series of exercises in gratuitous rebellion. His work can be extremely personal. Indeed, he's one of those filmmakers of whom it could be said that the more you know about him, the more interesting his films are.
Take, for example, the second film on the DVD, Liquid Lunch. It's about a businessman who willingly puts himself at the mercy of a dominatrix from the newspaper classifieds.
Seeking the best way to humiliate a quartet of clients, the dominatrix, played by Jaimz's own wife, Karen Asmundson, compels them to engage in a homosexual act, thus inadvertently eliminating her own services when two of the men are turned on by the exercise.
Like most of Asmundson's films, Liquid Lunch features outrageous content in the manner of the "transgressive" likes of Asmundson's esthetic-outlaw heroes, Richard Kern (Fingered) and Nick Zedd (Geek Maggot Bingo), with a nod to pioneer John Waters.
And yet Asmundson is not himself a bridge-burning outlaw in the traditional sense. In fact, three of his films centre around bravura performances from his wife, his mom, and his dad.
How many outlaw filmmakers do you know who make movies with their families?
And while we're asking: What is a happily married, 25-year-old man doing making movies about alternative lifestyles, over-the-top violence, hallucination and addiction?
The simple answer to that question is that the Montreal-born, Winnipeg-raised Asmundson is the son of provocative local visual artist Graham Asmundson.
"My dad's artwork is far more outrageous than anything I've done," Jaimz says. "Lately, his work has been about dreams mixed with reality. But there's always been a lot of gay themes in his work, a lot of nudity and borderline pornography.
"I guess I get a lot of influence from that, whether I like it or not," he says.
"My dad came out to me when I was seven," he says, as he recalls seeing his father with his boyfriend at a screening, after he had separated from Jaimz's mother, Carol Barton.
"I clicked that he was gay and I didn't even know what it meant, but I kind of knew what it was," he says. "So the next day, my dad came over and he was like, 'I want to tell you something about my sexuality' and I was like, 'I think I already know. Are you gay?'"
Subsequently, Jaimz says, "I grew up in the gay and lesbian community.
"That was one of the points in my life where my eyes were opened to the world and a lot of things just didn't bother me anymore," he says. "I've never had a problem in terms of identifying my own sexuality or respecting others', so because of that, I've always looked for alternative sexuality in films."
Hence, when it came time to make his films, he enlisted his parents. In one of Jaimz's first efforts, Attack of the 50 Foot Chihuahuas, Graham played a psychiatrist treating a traumatized young man who has been urinated upon by one of the titular doggies. He showed up again to play host-narrator on Jaimz's The Science of Eugenics.
In fact, no part would seem to be too outrageous for Jaimz's immediate family members. Jaimz's mom Carol, accustomed to reading over his scripts, was enlisted to play the trailer-trash mom of the villainous Trasha in the lesbian hitman comedy Carpet Cleaners.
"She had never done any acting before but she really got into it," Jaimz says, recalling a moment when he reminded Barton of her scripted lines. "She just screamed at me and said, 'Goddam, I know my f——-' lines,'" Jaimz says.
"She was just so in character," Jaimz says. "Everyone just froze and she realized she yelled at me and said, 'Oh my God did I just say that?' We started laughing."
Jaimz's wife Karen inspired the making of Liquid Lunch, he says, when she and some friends couldn't find a suitable porn video for a girlfriend about to get married.
"She bothered me for a year just to make her this film," Asmundson says. "She got to play the dominatrix and she was the easiest actress I ever worked with."
That is not to say she found it easy to portray the film's sadistic vixen. But Asmundson knew her well enough to suggest how to plumb the necessary depths of rage.
"She had a lot of problems in high school with these jock jerks who would bother her," he says. "So I said: Just pretend like the guys in the film are the guys you hated most in high school.
"After that, she was completely transformed," he says. "She just channelled all the hatred from her high school past, I guess."
Asmundson's DVD will be available online through his website, www.dirtyundies.org, for approximately $15. The screening of his films begins at 9 p.m. tomorrow at Cinematheque.