[Note: If the video plays slowly for you, feel free to download it straight from Netscape. Also, the running time is just over 10 minutes.]
Cinematical recently attended a screening of What Is It?, which was written and directed by Crispin Glover. He also plays a small role in the film, and has been touring (it also screened at Sundance last year) with a print and his "Big Slide Show", where he reads and shows images from several of the books he has published. He's an extremely interesting guy, very well-spoken, highly intelligent, and couldn't have been nicer. It presents a real conundrum, because on one hand you have a really strange film, but on the other you have an intelligent person telling you why they made the choices they did in making the film. With Crispin Glover, it was like yin and yang / night and day.
Now having said that, What Is It? is without a doubt one of the most disturbing movies I've ever seen. There is a lot of stuff in here that will make you queasy, uncomfortable, and possibly even offended. A word of warning to the wise: if you're offended by people killing live snails in pretty graphic ways, you're going to want to avoid this one. Also, if you're disturbed by scenes of graphic sexuality, you'll want to skip this. Additionally, the use of a cast made up almost entirely of actors with Down's syndrome feels exploitative at times, and that could be bothersome to some people. If you can get through all of that, there's also a fair amount of swastikas on display, nude women wearing animal masks, a character in blackface, a mom forcing her disabled son to inhale smoke from a pipe through a tube, and Shirley Temple as you've never seen her before.