There will be no shortage of parties in Los Angeles next week, as a new edition of Frieze opens, accompanied by a bevy of other fairs, but a very unique kind of bacchanalia will also be celebrated in the form of two new films by Paul and Damon McCarthy, which are set to have a one-day-only stand in the city.
On February 15, the father-son duo will stage the world premiere of their latest film, CSSC – It Begins – The Coach The Skull, as well as the U.S. premiere of DADDA – Poodle House Saloon. Both works will be screened at the Montalbán Theater in Hollywood, and they are full of the bloody violence and sexual perversions that are the elder McCarthy’s trademark. Attendance at the event is free with an RSVP, but the weak of heart may want to steer clear of the event.
The two works are iterations of a larger project called “Coach Stage Stage Coach / Donald and Daisy Duck Adventure (CSSC / DADDA),” which is loosely inspired by the 1939 John Ford film Stagecoach. Whereas Ford’s film is to-the-point, following a group of strangers as they journey across the American West together during the 1880s, the McCarthys’ films seem to be more experimental and less plot-oriented.
The films feature baroque meditations on the role of violence in U.S. history, as well as allusions to distinctly American forms of racism and celebrity worship. DADDA’s set, for example, was inspired by a saloon that figured in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s film Whity (1971), which follows a black servant who rebels against his masters. American politics from a prior era play a role in CSSC, albeit loosely—characters named Nancy and Ronald Raygun appear.
The characters are defiled frequently, often in disturbing ways involving saws and feces, but “they keep coming back,” Paul McCarthy told ARTnews. “It’s part of how we enjoy our celebrities—they die and come back.”
Some will naturally draw comparisons between what’s on view in the McCarthys’ new films and America’s present political moment. Paul said that such connections could be made, although they are deliberately a bit ambiguous within the works. “The Donald Duck character resembles, to some degree, Donald Trump, but he looks a little like Donald Duck, too,” he said. He added the work will, however, resonate for today’s viewers: “It’s critical, I would say.”