THE OBLITERATION OF THE CHICKENS / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: IZZY LEE / STARRING: BRACKEN MacLEOD / RELEASE DATE: TBC
Some things are so off-the-wall bonkers it takes a while to process exactly what it is you’ve just seen, let alone actually put your reaction to it into coherent words. The Obliteration of the Chickens is such an experience. Although technically a short film, it wouldn’t quite be right to refer to it as such, since it’s so purposefully counter to what such a designation implies that it would make watching it even more confusing if you went into it with associated expectations.
It features an assortment of stock footage cut together into a surreal and hallucinatory fever, while a voice recites nihilistic pronouncements in a breathy German accent reminiscent of Werner Herzog, commenting on the uncaring nature of the universe and utter futility of attempting to achieve anything. To begin with, it sounds very similar to the tedious verbal ejaculations of self-proclaimed free thinkers who believe themselves unrestricted by societal indoctrination that shackles the brainwashed masses to dull and vapid existences.
However, it becomes apparent that the film is structured to satirise such cerebral pretension, with declarations on the cosmic insignificance of a child eating ice cream accompanied by subliminal flashes of hand-drawn skulls, or the juxtaposition of a Nietzsche quotation with an image of a chocolate Easter bunny.
Paradoxically, this actually makes it more self aware than the smug circle-jerking of the armchair philosophers it parodies in a Galaxy Brain explosion of comic dismissals, portraying itself as so intellectually transcendent that it defies the very viability of the concepts it nevertheless utilises. “The Abyss is stupid,” it declares.
Each subsequent thoughtline descends ever further into incoherent rambling, occasionally using so many condescending soundbites it ends up contradicting itself, before arriving at a drunken rant about the titular farm animals, “the basest nature of the universe.” We are left with a warning to not allow ourselves to be overcome by the chaos that birds are the earthly avatars of, and we end the experience forever changed, but in ways that we as insignificant mortals likely lack the faculties to truly comprehend.