Bliss @ Fantasia

Director/Writer Joe Begos

The movie Bliss, shot on gritty 16mm film, is more of a hallucinogenic sensory experience than a traditional film. It is written and directed by American indie filmmaker Joe Begos (The Mind’s Eye, Almost Human).

Dezzy, played by Dora Madison (Dexter, Friday Night Lights), is a talented but struggling artist in LA who is dropped by her agent due to missing several deadlines. Her creative juices have stalled on the creation of her latest piece. She visits her friend slash dealer who introduces her to a new drug called Bliss, a potent combination of cocaine and DMT. “Start small” he suggests and despite heeding his warning, Dezzy hits the floor after her first psychedelic hit. She wakes to find herself at a wild house party with her friend Courtney (Tru Collins). Dezzy and Courtney spend a raucous night drinking and taking Bliss in a grungy heavy metal party scene that immerses the viewer along with the characters.

The following day, Dezzy comes to after her wild night only to find herself painting again, apparently over her artistic dry spell. She also begins experiencing withdrawal symptoms so harsh that even taking more Bliss only seems to curb the agony temporarily. Once Dezzy realizes that her newfound hunger is driven by bloodlust, the film escalates into a violent, throbbing bloodbath.

Bliss is made up of a small cast which includes the familiar faces of George Wendt (Cheers) and Abraham Benrubi (ER) but it is Dora Madison’s visceral performance and wild auburn mane that shoulder the film.

Bliss explores whether the brain needs to be stimulated in order to create while playing in the realm of modern vampire lore, only without the fangs and invisible reflections. The film also pulls the viewer into the pain and madness of addiction. Be prepared for a mind-blowing, bloody ride.

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