by Geoffroy Dedenis  for CHAOSREIGN.FR

It was one of the many gifts offered by L’Étrange Festival for its 29th edition: the never-before-seen films of one of the most secretly influential audiovisual creators of the second half of the 20th century, Peter «Sleazy» Christopherson.
It is only fair if it was at l’Étrange festival that we were able to discover A Way to Die for its world premiere, since Christopherson had played there in 2004, without Coil and under his own name, during a tribute to his friend Derek Jarman.
We could have missed it among the myriad oddities that gave the event its golden letters, but Pan be praised, Maxime Lachaud and Reivaks Timeless chose for their bouquet of black flowers, a title that Coil diehards could only hear: «A Way to Die: the Films of Peter Christopherson and John Balance».
Many must have rushed to reserve their seats before calling their colleagues and enjoining them to do the same. And rightly so, for these short films come straight from the black box left by Christopherson after his death - among a multitude of demos and unreleased material that fans snatch up with each posthumous release from the duo.
Pieces as rare as they are fascinating, which can be divided into two categories: «family» videos of friends and collaborators filmed by Balance/Sleazy in the early days of Coil.These include the glam-sanguinous Marc Almond, Genesis P-Orridge all smiles in his Manson phase, David Tibet before his Noddy period, alongside the recently deceased Monte Cazazza, more fashionable than ever with his morbid humor and his very 2023 penile exhibitions, without forgetting our two satyr-pythias co-authors of the images that interest us. We also finally got to see some of the figures that everyone had mentioned in their respective bios [cf. the Cosey/P-Orridge clash], notably the tragically famous Mr Sébastian who tattooed the whole happy little non-secte back in the day [cf. all the names above]. It’s nostalgic, but not too much so, as we know well enough that they were living against a world that was giving them a run for their money.
This pent-up anger, taking less from the expansive cry-slogan “no future” then in vogue and more from the bonze equipped with a can of gasoline, manifests itself in Sleazy’s truly plastic creations. And if anyone still doubts the relevance of his re-christened name, these few videos should convince them. Lust, blood and anything in between.
Photogenic stagings of onanistic suicides in which barely legal boys are transfigured into sadistic martyrs. Probably picked up from the streets where the crisis had left them, their angelic faces crowning dry bodies hung à la Pasolini. No dialogues or exchanges of any kind, Coil has never been in the explanatory, the explicit on the other hand… These black and white faces closed in on themselves, anesthetized by a deep melancholy, are enough. Nothing more to say, only to do, to stimulate, to excite, to mutilate the captive envelope of a perverse world. We see an incredible closeness between these films and Christopherson’s photographic work.
His photos, although objectively admitted as brilliant by his peers at Hypgnosis, were nevertheless already considered too extreme - and remain so today. Photos showing gitons post reformatory, their hands full of weapons, blades or guns as desired, strangling themselves, electrocuting themselves, cutting their veins… Before, during, after, death still, but sexy. Although having collaborated with Jarman, the Sleazy/Balance duo touches on something more difficult to know, darker, too dark for many, including the gay public. But as those concerned were able to stipulate in an interview, attributing the punchline to Marc Almond: “We might be friends of Judy, but we’re not friends of Elton». No need to ponder why these works have remained under seal for so long. We only have to remember the affair of the fake-snuff designed by Sleazy at the request of Coil addict - with big money - Trent Reznor for his EP Broken. lt ain’t easy being sleazy.
Fans will find more than what they’re worth and will be able to rejoice knowing that A Way to Die is a working copy and judging by the quality of the work assembled by Lachaud/Timeless, the night has not finished to shine. G.C.dD 

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