‘Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World’
Director: Belinda Sallin
3 (out of 5) Globes
There’s a hushed quality to the documentary “Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World” that almost makes up for how little it tells you and how little it does. It’s a documentary about the Swiss artist most famous for designing the slippery, toothy, vaguely post-human creatures (plus vaginal eggs) in “Alien,” whose prolific work touches on the same few ideas: namely beings and structures that combine the biological with the mechanical — a world and a species that have either left humanity behind or conquered them. Giger, who passed last year, shortly after shooting on this film wrapped, was the type of artist who riffed on the same obsessions through his life. Appropriately or not, his splashy doc tries to do the same general thing again and again over 90 minutes, aiming to be less a 101 than a mood piece.
It almost get there. Draped in a vaguely haunting, low-level ambient score, it only periodically dwells on his paintings, sculptures and general designs. Instead it dwells on the 70-something Giger himself, barely mobile, waddling about his cavernous and cluttered Swiss home. Giger has little to say about his work, and the token talking heads that do tend to say variations on the same thing. If you want context for the socio-political and personal contexts that inspired and underlined his work, you’ll have to head elsewhere, but the scenes of just hanging with Giger — as he sits around, walks around, signs autographs for a few minutes, etc. — are of minimal interest at best and come off as mere padding at worst. It can't quite decide what it wants to be. It does have a lot of information — so much that it's noticeable when it doesn't delve deeper. And the mood is never overwhelming enough, never letting us get too lost in one man's singular, disturbing world.