Category Archives: Amour Fou

Princples of Lust (2003)

Director: Penny Woolcock
Starring:Alec Newman, Sienna Guillory, Marc Warren, Julian Barratt, Lara Clifton. UK. 1h 48m

In a heated conversation between a couple of shabby fellows after a night of debauchery, a poignant line is shouted, the definition of the film title and ethos of what you have spend an hour watching… it goes something along the lines of “meeting someone fucking their brains out and when you get bored you move on”. This dry argument is a key to Penny Woolcock’s vibrantly disturbing drama surrounding the most powerful bouts of writer’s block that Paul might ever have in one lifetime.

Continue reading Princples of Lust (2003)

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Director: Adrian Lyne
Starring: Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer,Ellen Latzen, Stuart Pankin, Ellen Foley, Fred Gwynne, Meg Mundy, Lois Smith. USA. 1h 59m

“So Andrew’s new girlfriend is turning out to be a right bunny boiler”
“A what?”
“You know.. Fatal Attraction.. “

This was the conversation that made me realise how influential movies have been on the English language. The term Bunny Boiler, referring to a person, usually a woman who’s a bit psychotic and clingy, was born from this literal potboiler that, when it really gets going, is hard to look away from.

Adrian Lyne went straight from 9 1/2 weeks (1986) to Fatal Attraction and then straight into Jacob’s Ladder (1990). He’s often quoted to be intrigued to make moves that create a discussion, a movie that’s not forgotten by dinner time and still arguing about it the next day is a winner for him and it’s safe to stay that this run of movies all hold a powerful grip on their audiences many years later. His ability to pull the carpet on an unsuspecting audience and touch on surreal symbolism is quite masterful.

Continue reading Fatal Attraction (1987)

Suntan (2016)

Director: Argyris Papadimitropoulos
Starring: Makis Papadimitriou, Elli Tringou. Greece. 1h 44m

Suntan is a movie that’s as slow burning as it’s lead characters’ heavily protected skin. An epic adventure into the darker races of the human condition that follows a middle aged man, who embarks to a remote Greek island to be the only doctor, but instead he thrust into a hedonistic paradise and once the holiday season beings, he finds himself shunted further into an unfamiliar world of casual free love and a dangerous obsession. Directed by Argyris Papadimitropoulos, a Greek filmmaker whose work is totally unknown to me but after watching this shocking and incredibly sad story of sexual obsession. His outlandish style,ability to capture and develop hyper real character and throw some absurd black comedy into such a serious drama, he deserves to be recognised alongside contemporaries such as Yorgos Lanthimos.

Continue reading Suntan (2016)

Koirat eivät käytä housuja / Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019)

Director: J P Valkeapää Starring: Pekka Strang, Ester Geislerova .Finland. 1h 45m

Sometimes those big life events can shake a person from one life into another, after moving through a period of massive grief and shock, J P Valkeapää’s lead Juha (Strang) finds himself in some sort of sado sexual purgatory, a surreal life path, which happens to become fantastically gripping in this somewhat violent dark comedy.

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants is one of the ultimate sad stories. It begins after the lowest part of Juha’s life, his soulmate had died after a tragic drowning accident. Struggling on with his crippling grief he does his best to look after his teenage daughter and keeps his head down at work. There are hints that Juha is already a bit of a perv, no idea what life was like before, we can only assume his creative adaptation of self gratification is new as he tries to find some kind of satisfaction alone.

Continue reading Koirat eivät käytä housuja / Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019)

Love at 2nd Sight (2020)

Director: Adim Williams. Starring: Frederick Leonard, Peggy Ovire, Onny Micheal, Rita Arum, Philldella Yve, Adim Williams. .Nigeria. 5h +

Falling in love just might be the easy part in this explosive Nigeria classic, not only do a couple of friends both find the women of their dreams, they manage to lose them due to irrational reactions and lack of attention and empathy.

Frederick Leonard plays an attractive bachelor, who’s hooked up with an old flame and within months of reuniting they are getting married. The love is lost and all goes bad on the wedding night when his new bride wakes up, and before she’s got her faculties together and in a total daze, she’s asking to be paid for her nightly rate! Utterly shocked Frederick realises he’s married ex prostitute, disgusted and pained verbally beats the woman down, leaving her in their hotel suite with some cash, the message is clear, the arrangement is over. At her most vulnerable state her best friend also takes advantage of her and ashamed she moves on with her life.

Continue reading Love at 2nd Sight (2020)

Impossible Monsters (2019)

Director: Nathan Catucci
Starring: Laila Robins, Santino Fontana, Dennis Boutsikaris. USA. 1h 24min

Part of the charm of Impossible Monsters is that it plays with ideas of sleep and dreams without really alluding to many of the schemas behind the expansive theology and science behind this complicated field. Often advertised as a film dealing with nightmare dreams and sleep paralysis, I don’t remember seeing much about it, and instead Impossoble Monsters falls into a rabbit hole of dark sexuality and crime de passion, ideas surrounding the opedious complex and a tutor who gets caught up in the murder of one of his students as the lines begins to blur between reality and a Ken Russellseque dreamworld. Continue reading Impossible Monsters (2019)

The Landlord (1970)

Director: Hal Ashby.
Starring. Beau Bridges, Diana Sands, Pearl Bailey, Walker Brooke, Lee Grant, Louis Gossett Jr. Marki Bey USA. 1h 52m.

When a director makes his debut there’s a strong possibility that they are aiming to make the biggest impact of their career and I believe Hal Ashby did just that with his cultural clash comedy drama that insists that we all look within and think without prejudice as we grow as people, which is what happens to his privileged and naive lead, Elgar (Bridges) as he “runs away” from and attempts to become a landlord. Continue reading The Landlord (1970)

My Wife My Life (2020)

Director: Ugezu J Ugezu
Starring:Frederick Leonard, Queeneth Hilbert, Tana Egbo Adelana, Chinyere Wilfred, Ugo Spunky Obioha. .Nigeria. 4h +

Frederick Leonard stars as a man who has it all, and this puts him in the front running and he’s hit on daily by many beautiful women, but he’s an honourable man and only has eyes for his darling wife Cindy (Adelana).

His overbearing mother is intent on ending his marriage and for him to marry a girl that she chooses, seeing the current union as going against her will and therefore null and void, she spends her waking hours, actively running schemes behind their backs to shroud their marriage in doubt and fear, and doesn’t think twice about telling Cindy that she would like to see her dead… charming! Continue reading My Wife My Life (2020)

Naked (1993)

Director: Mike Leigh.
Starring. David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Peter Wright, Ewen Bremner, Gina McKee, Greg Cruttwell. UK. 2h 12m.

It’s hard to talk about this brilliant, tres controversial, sour drama without describing it as a poignant thought provoking and slightly disturbing nocturnal odyssey, it’s the darkest journey throughout London by an unemployed Mancunian on the run after attempting to rape his date. But Johnny (Thewlis) is an infection character, he manages to draw people to him almost like a guardian angel at first, talking a language which they begin to understand, with his unique charm and eloquence but eventually he begins to erupt like a volcano of theories and rude personal attacks, and then he’s hot on the trail for the next conquest like a devil scavenging in the dark. Continue reading Naked (1993)

A Thought of Ecstasy

Director: Rolf Peter Kahl,
Starring: Rolf Peter Kahl, Ava Verne, Deborah Kara Unger, Lena Morris. Germany/USA. 1h 30m

This gentle murmur of a movie is half waking dream and half private investigation but the apparent nightmare that runs throughout its winding narrative is hidden behind a psychosexual noir.

A majority of the movie follows a bemused love sick German trailing around the American desert, in search for his estranged lover. With long sun bleached shots of the desert where naked bodies writhe together, mixed with elaborate sexual encounters set to pounding electronic soundtracks, the movie feels like a series of naughty dreams, but it’s easily missed quirk, is that the movie is strangely set in the near future, in an America going through a unusual heat wave and kind of political turmoil, this erotic thriller is science fiction as much as it’s art house, but the blend, while unusual is pretty captivating.

After finding a random book that reminds him of a heated love affair he had 20 years previous with a woman named Marie, Frank (Kahl) is spurred on by the reminder of their dark sexy fuelled romps, and immediately heads out to the USA to investigate the author. Her literary agent Liz (Unger) confirms the author is the same Marie, but has no contact details for her. Frank hangs around and meets a sex worker named Nina who sets up sophisticated scenarios with her colleague ?? and the pair record the sessions, Frank can’t help notice the similarity of Nina in both the women and becomes their cameraman in order to be closer to them, as he continues to read the book/journal about the mysterious Marie who he thought he knew but is only now discovering.

This is one of those movies where the journey is the movie, the destination is something you work out after the film had ended and that’s pretty unusual, but there’s a beautiful meandering sequence of sets and encounters to experience instead of gripping hold of a solid narrative and trying to mentally rip it apart, A Thought of Ecstasy forces it’s audience to sit back and feel and experience the delirium along with Frank.

Love is immortal. Seduction is Inevitable. Revenge is irresistible.

In-between scenes of Frank driving around the desert, reading Marie’s book, which runs like a journal of her time in the desert, his time alone is pretty dry, but once he’s with Nina and co, while she is a sex worker the movie slides into soft core porn, there’s plenty of nudity and sex, which I a lot of people were willing to trash it because of this, but accepting that it’s part of adult life the movie’s ability to shift totally is really impressive. Time seems to slow down, movements become like chorographical dance, is washed out sunny USA becomes soft and luxurious and very dark both in lighting and mood, this nightlife is very different and very seductive. You can see why Frank wants to be there, but the nagging feeling is that someone wants Frank to want to be there, and this is the big mystery which slowly unfolds to it’s resolute climax.

Rolf Peter Kahl, is the holy trinity of this project, director, writer and star, so while this is his all about him, you can only assume that the film is a perfect rendition of his original concept. It’s pretty easy to sit back and enjoy what’s put before you, it’s also impossible to just ignore that there is a bigger picture within a narrative that’s filled with naked bodies to move your attention away from the nitty gritty, or at least that’s how I felt about it.

On the surface it’s an attractive movie, but underneath all the softcore it’s a well of dark desires, death, a very distressing ending which is somewhat glazed over, but once you get it, it’s bloody brilliant if you can get through all the tits and art house it’s fully rewarding.

Rating 6/10

R: Amer (2009)
L: Desert Trip

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