Category Archives: Amour Fou

Beast (2017)

Director: Michael Pearce
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn,Geraldine James  .UK. 1h 46m

Director Michael Pearce has constructed a commanding movie with a complex layered story, this deeply psychological drama/thriller is a smouldering beauty with lots of eerie undertones.The films flaming lead Jessie Buckley gives an excellent lead performance who’s beauty gives the film a touch of piercing clarity, as Pearce builds mystery with intense fascination, often revealing big scenes with fine balance as he grips the viewers attention with climatic stages.

Set in Jersey while a serial killer has murdered several young girls, the village tries to solder o while there’s a giant elephant in the room. In among the normies is Moll (Buckley) a 27 year old who’s a deeply unhappy woman and put upon daughter by an extremely domineering mother (James) she lives out her days under the total control of her mother and carrying out a soulless job as a tour guide. There is a reason for the watchful eye of Moll, she has a dark secret that manifested in her past school girl days, and in turn she’s still basically treated as a child while her siblings are on their own pedestals. Her sister manages to upstage her at her own birthday party while announcing her pregnancy, Moll, having enough of the family antics storms out abandoning her family and Cliff, a stuffy young police officer who wanted to make Moll his new girlfriend. Into the night she runs and joins another party, meeting the mysterious and alluring Pascal (Flynn). Continue reading Beast (2017)

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Anatomie de l’enfer /Anatomy of Hell (2004)

Director: Catherine Breillat
Starring: Amira Casar, Rocco Siffredi. France 1h 17m
Based on: Pornocratie by Catherine Breillat

This slightly strangely off putting art house erotica drama see the plights of man vs woman and slowly discovers what we always knew, and that the sexes really are planets apart.

This taboo sequel to the equally taboo shocker Romance X (1999) see Catherine Breillat boldly challenge many more darker crevices within the sexual psyche of a woman who, in Romance was shunned by her lover, seeking love and affection then sex and kink elsewhere, while in the Anatomy of Hell, we discover more about the boyfriend, adoringly known as Man and played by porn star Rocco Siffredi, we see his reasoning behind his unusual character.

A lonely and dejected woman, whose only known as The Woman (Casar) throughout the  film stalks the streets at night looking for company, stumbling into a gay bar she drinks, bumps into all the gay guys and seemly out of it, hits a new low, her suicide attempt in the clubs toilets is thwarted by a concerned stud, after rescuing her she makes him a proposition, she invites him to visit her and watch her silently for four nights while she’s “unwatchable”. Begrudgingly he agrees to continue to help and the two being a strange journey. Continue reading Anatomie de l’enfer /Anatomy of Hell (2004)

Alps (2012)

Director: Giorgos Lanthimos.

Starring.  Aggeliki Papoulia, Aris Servetalis, Johnny Verkis, Ariane Labed, Maria Kirozi. Greece. 1h 33m.

After the amazing Dogtooth (2009) project, Lanthimos was a closely watched director, but his next project seemed like an amazing idea on paper but even with his surreal approach to film, personally I felt as if he missed his own target by being too realistic and not fantastical enough, or maybe the hype train mutated my anticipations to a level that not even a great director could reach.

ALPS is part is about a group of therapists who set up a business to allow families to get through the grieving process by supplying them with “trained” actors to play the roles of their loved ones, so they can have those precious last moments with them, say goodbye or to just have the feeling that they are still around for a few days. The drawbacks are that the actors don’t look like the people they are impersonating and they have to improvise on details the families give to them, hand written scripts and a few left over clothes but they make do, as method actors are especially adapted to do. Continue reading Alps (2012)

El castillo de la pureza / Castle of Purity (1972)

Director: Arturo Ripstein.
Starring: Claudio Brook, Rita Macedo, Diana Bracho, Arturo Beristáin, Gladys Bermejo, David Silva, María Rojo. Mexico. 1h 41m

After seeing the epic Dogtooth (2009) by the cult director Lanthimos, I was mystified by the circumstances, the basis of the story is a man raising his family in such isolation,  their offbeat lifestyle seems so extraordinary to the eye of any outsider, the whys were never really answered the film just happens. But after a little digging i discovered that the film isn’t a remake but has a similar storyline to El castillo de la pureza, an excellent Mexican drama where a man isolates his family to protect them from “the evils of human beings”. While I thoroughly enjoy Dogtooth everytime I see it, there’s something deeper in this retro classic as it digs under the skin of the abnormal situation.

Gabriel Lima (Brook) and his gorgeous wife Beatriz (Macedo) have invented a brilliant homemade rat poison, their children all have roles in helping them manufacture this brilliant powder. Each day they get up and get to work, always in silence when working, then their father gets dressed in formal clothes and goes out to sell the rat poison to local shops and businesses, meanwhile the children have to exercise, learn and for a while they play.
Things start to breakdown, slowly at first, but as the movie builds pace it becomes a waves of crushing emotions for the disciplined and sexually driven father and more jail time for the children. Leaving their poor mother looking on at the madness. Continue reading El castillo de la pureza / Castle of Purity (1972)

Die Bülchse der Pandora / Pandoras Box (1929)

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Starring: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Franz Lederer, Carl Goetz, Alive Roberts. Germany / Austria. 1h 49m

This iconic film is deeply based on Frank Wedekind’s play “Lulu”, and despite it not being popular at the time of release, it now remains; nearly 90 years after its release; one of Europe’s silent cinema’s crowning achievements. A catastrophic portrait of sexual obsession, that the American actress Louise Brooks provided an outstanding performance as the prostitute Lulu, a femme fatale who unleashes uncontrollable desires in the people around her. Continue reading Die Bülchse der Pandora / Pandoras Box (1929)

Last days of summer AKA The neighbour  (2018)

Director:Aaron Harvey
Starring: William Fichtner, Jessica McNamee, Jean Louisa Kelly USA. 1h 45m

A quiet and unassuming man Mike (Fichtner) drifts through his morning routine, he writes technical manuals, his wife, Lisa (Kelly)  is an ambitious teacher, they barely cross each others path, with little to talk about, his mind wanders…. He notices new neighbours unpacking and instantly becomes infatuated with Jenna (McNamee), and in turn he develops a deep hatred for her loud mouth and abusive boyfriend. Slowly things break down even further with his uncaring career driven wife as he comes to realise that he’s stuck in a stagnant relationship and dead marriage, but he has a strange backup plan, as a special friendship grows with Jenna to the point of obsession, he keeps a watchful eye over her and helps with her gardening, they even hit the pipe together so its gotta be love right?! Mike is meek, gentle and cares with his heart not his brain,  you can see a deep ocean of emotions washing over this psychee ever time he sees her. After his wife kicks him out and Jenna promises to leave Mr quick fists everything seems to be okay but Mike is soon to becomes his worst enemy. Continue reading Last days of summer AKA The neighbour  (2018)

Odishon / The Audition (1999)

Director: Takashi Miike. Story by: Ryū Murakami
Starring. Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina. Japan. 1h 43m.

Famed as being one of the breakthrough modern Japanese video nasties, the Audition has a sacred place in the hearts of anyone who likes the gore and chills turned right up, from the granddaddy of Japanese bizarre cinema, Takashi Miike.

Based on the chilling horror novel The Audition By Ryū Murakami (thanks to @GiornataNera  for the info, if you ever need someone awesome to follow on twitter check out this wonderful guy) and it captures an mesmerizing  dreamlike feel when things start to get weird the “deeper” throws of the movie. Continue reading Odishon / The Audition (1999)

New French Extremity Vol 1.

I’m sure there are book written about this subject and I’m not claiming to be an authority on it but here’s an easy and slightly obvious guide to the new wave of French bizarre and disturbing films.

The term was originally coined by James Quandt to summarise a collection of transgressive films by French directors. Despite this list claiming to be French a couple of these films are Belgique or even Canadian but are just French in language.. Don’t get your knickers in a twist.

So in no particular order at all, here are 10 easy to find and probably most talked about French Extreme Movies, Vol 2 will be a little more obscure.. or at least I hope so.

01. Proie /Prey (2010)

This movie is probably the most recent that I’ve watched and it’s the only reason why it’s in this top position. It’s a disgusting buckets of gore body shocker that highlights the dangers of chemical waste being released into the nature and breeding mutant creatures. A family who are spending time in a remote cabin fancy a bit of hunting are soon have their weekend turned into a nightmare when they become the prey of a large mutated bore.  A delightful step up from Razorback (1984) and Pighunt (2008), this film fixates on the pungent rotting mess that the abandoned pesticide has created, and if the stronger stomachs can sit through this it has a lot of gory and disturbing action scenes to top it off. It’s all kinda their own fault as it is the patriarch of the family who authorised the dumping of the waste in the first place..  8/10

02.Frontière(s) /Frontier(s) (2007)

Continue reading New French Extremity Vol 1.

Bad Timing (1980)

bad timing

 

Bad Timing  (Drama, Mystery, Thriller,  1980) (18) D: Nicolas Roeg W: Yale Udoff (screenplay) P:  C: Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, Harvey Keitel, Denholm Elliott, Daniel Massey. 2h 9m. UK.

Synopsis : The setting is Vienna. A young American woman is brought to a hospital after overdosing on pills, apparently in a suicide attempt. A police detective suspects foul play on the part of her lover, an American psychology professor. As doctors try to save her life, the detective interrogates the professor, and through flashbacks we see the events leading up to the woman’s overdose.

TAGLINE : A Terrifying Love Story

Three very secretive and explosive characters are instantly fascinating in this movie, starting out on the operating table we soon learn that a young woman Melina (Theresa Russell)is assumed to have attempted suicide, while her ever caring new lover Alex (Art Garfunkel) awaits outside trying to keep himself together. Cutting back into the past we learn more about the lovers and their volatile relationship, the drunkenness, jealousy and rapid start and spiralling decline. A brilliant detective Netusil (Harvey Keitel) has his suspicions about the case and turns into a vicious Colombo while trying to sort through the sordid affair.bad timing

There are fleeting moments of a real carefree romance between the taboo couple, a professor and student, from their random meeting and every encounter after is overcast by a nasty undercurrent getting uglier as the affair progresses. Things soon starts to get away from them somewhere in Austria in the late 70s.

It’s fascinating to see the cracks appearing and the characters change as you learn more of the personal histories, quite similar to getting into a relationship with this stormy and intense couple yourself. As you’re forced to look deep into the dark erotic study of this pair of unsympathetic lovers.

bad timing

There are regular flashbacks to the hospital where doctors are struggling to save the life of Melina. The urgent pace is captured by erratic camera movements and harsh sounds,  otherwise the camera work is incredibly clever following the smooth art Garfunkel playing the moody controlling sophisticated intellectual, lusting after the young drink and hope student who he later finds out is married but separated from the nerdy quiet and laidback husband Stefan (Denholm Elliott).

While being quite an arty film, it certainly captures the summer lovin of the 70s in an erotically claustrophobic method,  utilising mirrored shots and uncomfortable encounters,  it slowly swings from psychological thriller to explosive confirmation.

All the characters are quite charming in their own way, Melina,  a seductress pulls in the needy Garfunkel as he tries to remain young in the bed of his strident,  realising he can’t quite control or connect with the youth of the times his need for possession leads to strange behavior,  the intense police officer (Keitel) systematically plots together fragments of the case. As a viewer you can see the cogs turning in the desperate mind of Garfunkel s he studies his lovers drunken behaviour in common bars her joviality

bad timing suicide

The film is quite typical of director Nicolas Roeg, whose style is often disjointed, he goes the extra mile in this film during the “quadrant” sequence where the thoughts of the actors are heard before they speak. The obvious attraction to Teresa Russell is profound in this movie and the adoration of her comes from many angles, including from the director himself who married her two years after the film’s release.

 

AOFA07

Rating –  7/10

V: It captures a true summer of love in the 70’s the distorts it through drunkenness and abuse.. and in a similar vein to a Coen movie it is charming without really knowing why. The fragmented linage of the movie makes it an interesting whodunit, while being drawn into a web of dark sexuality and a feverish love story. It’s so beautifully set that each scene could be classed as a work of art.

R: War of the roses (1989), They were sisters (1945), Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
OST: Surprisingly I didn’t hear any Simon and Garfunkel
TIL : SPAR are popular in Vienna
DGI : Drink whenever one of characters does and it will keep you pretty happy.
L: Amour Fou, Musicians in Films, Suicide attempts in movies.
PD : Post Discussion – Coming soon.

Kisha