Tag Archives: france

Amer (2009)

Director: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani.
Starring: Charlotte Eugene-Guibbaud, Cassandra Foret, Marie Bos, Bianca, Maria D’Amato, Harry Cleven, Delphine Crual Belgium/France. 1h 30m.

There has been a lot of talk about this being the beginning of a new wave of Giallo, for a lover of the macabre like myself this was immensely exciting news. I have been into Giallo for a long time now, and while I find new oddities from time to time, it’s getting rarer so to experience new films from the eccentric genre, I eagerly sought out these new wave films.

I was pleasantly surprised not only does the movie has heavy Giallo imagery the story is somewhat diverse, more experimental and a feast of the senses but not entirely Giallie, but something more avant garde that i found myself submerged in. The story is all about Ana and her development from a curious youngster who blossoms into a stunning temptress with dark secrets.

The film is cleverly divided between three distinct sections, the first shows Ana as a plucky little tyke, played by Cassandra Forêt, she crept around the dark mansion, a shadowy figure, possibly her grandmother skulks around with a heavy mantilla layered with black lace, awaiting the death of her husband who’s resting in one of the many bedrooms. the chapter is presented in extremely dark primary colours, flashing light to dark and contrasted to the highest levels, eyes are key here, they are staring from every corner, constantly watching the girl.. Ana is after his pocket watch and fully aware that the shadowy figure is keeping a close eye on her, rooms are locked with heavy keys and eyes are often staring through keyholes, but she managed to get her hands on his watch by using a gold cross to break his post mortem, arthritic hands and is then attacked by the dark covered hands of her grandmother, while running away she bursts in on her parents having some pretty rough sex, and is obviously affected for life.

During the brighter second chapter Ana is now older, a teenager who is beginning to realise that she’s desired.. while accompanying her mother to the hair salon in the local village, the sun shines on them, and through the active camera and vivid sounds again the senses are alive with motion, sounds so crisp and loud that the force all of the senses into action Ana is painfully aware of her mother’s aging, she slips while walking in her heels, isn’t her hair a little greyer? Ana, now played by Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud notices people lurking in the shadows, watching her, when asked to wait outside with the other children she stumbles on a group of bikers and begins to parade herself in front of them when she’s slapped into reality by her mother and they return home, but it’s clear to see that she likes the bad boy influence.

In the final chapter, the now adult Ana has morphed into Marie Bos and is taking the arduous trip back to her now dilapidated family home, the taxi driver dons his black leather gloves and switches on a tiny fan, the seat burns her legs and she opens the window while noticing that the driver is eye banging her. While making herself at home she notices that the taxi driver has returned and another dark figure with black gloves and a razorblade. This final throw of the movie is the closest to the Giallo flavour which the film is famed for having the night scenes look as if they have fallen straight out of the heights of Gialloism. If you give the movie a chance and feel it as much as watching it, there’s a chance you’ll get a taste for it’s deep psycho sexual flavours and deep terrifying puzzles. Amer is a prolonged tease, certainly something to get fully immersed into and not to be taken lightly.

It’s strange and disturbing, a total tantalizing for all the sense, an experience more than a movie, clearly crafted in highly unique chapters by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, a pair of directors who cut no corners and went full throttle into this deep mystery. But this was only their first step into the strange unknown, they later went onto create something a step closer away from a narrative in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears in 2013 and then Let the Corpses Tan in 2017.

To pin down the film will only do it injustice as conjure a rare fantasy world and phantoms which cannot be described but picked out from between the fabric of the movie itself.

The film is simply another wild ride of the new wave of Giallo which will hopefully start to pick up pace or at least be propped up by many more titles from this fearless duo.

Rating 8/10

RThe strange colours of your body’s tears (2013), Tulpa (2012), Let the Corpses Tan (2017)
L – New Wave of Giallo

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Ghostland (2018)

Director: Pascal Laugier.
Starring: Taylor Hickson, Anastasia Philips, Kevin Power, Rob Archer, Mylene Farmer, Crystal Reed, Emilia Jones, USA. 1h 31m.

Pascals past record, in my opinion is chequered, in his early career he assisted on one of the most perfect films ever made, Le Pacte Des Loups (2001) he broke the mold and may stomachs with the New French Extreme visceral classic, Martyrs (2008) then let me down with the confusing and long winding, No Slender Man tale of the Tall Man (2012), but he’s come back swinging with a perfect blend of all the best psychological and physical horror from his past, with a sublime film that gives the creeps and will rattle a few cages along the way. His approach to this twisting tale is unique in that it plays on a strange story this is presented from different perspectives each slipping in and out of each other seamlessly but the dynamics are hauntingly beautiful and yet covered in as much nostalgic creepiness as the house it’s set in.

The two young sisters at the centre of this film, couldn’t be more different, Beth (Reed/Jones) is a sensitive horror writer, always lost in her thoughts about Lovecraft inspired texts but faints at the sight of blood, her ballsy sister is pretty awesome, hot tempered and ready for a fight but they are sisters, just so different the fiery Vera (Philips/Hickson) is a delight. Continue reading Ghostland (2018)

Roberto Succo (2001)

Director: Cédric Kahn
Starring: Stefano Cassetti .France/Italy/Switzerland. 2h 4m
Based on: Je te tue. Histoire vraie de Roberto Succo assassin sans raison
by Pascale Froment.

What exactly is a criminal? Someone who goes above and beyond to get what he wants with little regard to anyone else or the law, or a totally feckless loser who just stumbles from mess to another? Cedric Kahn manages to paint a detailed picture of a man who crosses both of these descriptions and still manages to be both comical and highly dangerous in his escapades.

In this brilliant, slightly polished adaptation of real events, a bizarre criminal anti hero is etched out as Cassetti masquerades as Roberto Succo, a mixture of Jesse James, Hitler and Norman Bates, he argues about art, nationality and politics along the way. Mr Succo, esconded form prison five years after being convicted for the murder of his parents in 1981. His death defying run of fun saw him elude police in three different countries for 2 years, spending his time woeing girls, sightseeing, killing, raping, burgling and fucking up the odd bank job. The movie is generally detested by the French police for its alleged glamorisation of a real-life killer, but it’s a testament to the accuracies within the film and highlights how useless they were to allow him to carry on for so long. Continue reading Roberto Succo (2001)

Il était une fois le diable / Devil Story (1986)

Director: Bernard Launois
Starring: Véronique Renaud, Marcel Portier, Catherine Day .France. 1h 12m

This crazy French horror movie isn’t easy to categories, it’s definitely unique at times quite zany and while it has certain charms with being different and outlandish its major let down is the repetitive sound effects that really started to grate on my nerves within the opening 20 minutes only increase its irritability right to the bitter end.

Overall Devil Story feels as if narrative isn’t really all that important but the director, Bernard Launois, seems to have reveled with delight by adding everything you possibly could into his last production. The film opens with a crazed man slashing innocent victims and rural France and ends up with an occultist bringing about a Mummy Showdown. But like other infamous French movies of the era such as Zombie Lake (1981) there seems to have been this drive to just make gory horror films with little story line to back them up, but it’s generally all good groovy fun and being a lover of “bad movies” you gotta roll with the bizarre and they don’t get much more off the beaten track than this. Continue reading Il était une fois le diable / Devil Story (1986)

A Ma Soeur / Fat Girl (2001)

AKA: For my sister, Story of a Whale.

Director: Catherine Breillat.
Starring: Anais Reboux, Roxane Mesquida, Libero De Rienzo, Arsinee Khanjian. France. 1h 35m.

Catherine Breillat’s dark drama inspects the lives of two young sisters at a pivotal moment in their development into womanhood with all the graphic insights that Brielliat is akin to producing for her fans and mostly for her critics.

Anais (Reboux) and Elena (Mesquaida) are two sisters who are poles apart, the film opens with them walking into town from their families holiday home, discussing losing their virginity and sex, which is quite advanced for such young girls but Elena is firm in her beliefs that it should be between two people who really love each other and her huskier sister; Anais, is on the thought train of losing one’s virginity should be just done to get it out of the way, she’s convinced that any stranger will do then she’ll just get on with her life.

Be careful what you wish for. Continue reading A Ma Soeur / Fat Girl (2001)

Overlord (2018)

Director: Julius Avery
Starring: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk USA. 1h 50m

I didn’t know anything about this movie before I started seeing it’s backlash, but I personally believe that it’s a mistake to look at Overlord as a Horror movie, it’s just a Blackened Action War movie. The mechanism is generally simple, good guy Americana vs pure evil monster nazi,in between there’s a overnight coming of age, us and them dynamics and any excuse to shoehorn in some swearing and mild violence. Overall I find that the film sits neatly between a homage to lurid EC Comics series like Tales from the Crypt and the Wolfenstein video games, without taking it too seriously or trying to fit it neatly into historical facts I really enjoyed the black lead cast in their sometimes gory adventure, it’s not a great film, there’s nothing truly outstanding but for me it’s incredibly enjoyable. Continue reading Overlord (2018)

Climax (2018)

Director: Gustav Noe
Starring: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub, Kiddy Smile, Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull, Giselle Palmer, Taylor Kastle. France. 1h 35.

There is always something risque with any Noe film and usually it’s no big shock when the crazy sexual violence is going to spring in but Climax, a film which , for me doesn’t live up to its name and just doesn’t really pique, but it does get crazy, just crazy, nothing ban worthy… darn it.

I successfully managed to avoid the hype train, as I had no idea this was in the pipeline, the only piece of information I had was that the film was about some dancers who are spiked we with drugs, the possibilities are fucking endless. and yet. . 20 minutes in I was bored, 40 minutes in… I was bored then the plot picks up…but ultimately I was bored, let me explain. Continue reading Climax (2018)

Sweet Movie (1974)

Director: Dušan Makavejev
Starring:Carole Laure, John Vernon, Anna Prucnal, Pierre Clémenti, Jane Mallett, Roy Callender, Sami Frey. France, Germany, Russia. 1h 38m

The film is like a psychedelic socio political nightmare orgy, with some kind of comedy added to cushion the blow.

Following the lives of two women, Miss Mode 1984 and Anna Planeta, both are figureheads for different movements, Miss Mode (Laure) represents modern commodity culture, while on the other hand Anna (Prucnal) is the spearhead of the failed communist revolutionary. The film opens with a glitzy show, where women around the world are aiming to win the Most Virgin competition, the winner is Miss Canada with her golden shiny vagina. Her prize is to marry Mr. Kapital, a milk industry tycoon played by the daring and often enigmatic John Vernon, losing her virginity doesn’t go to plan, despite a golden dick, she soon bribes a servant to smuggle out of the Milk Tycoons mansion after his mother tries to drown her. Miss Mode goes on to join a cult, she gets seduced by a glittery Latin singer called El Macho (Frey). Continue reading Sweet Movie (1974)

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)

Un Français / French Blood (2015)

Director: Diastème .
Starring. Alban Lenoir, Samuel Jouy, Paul Hamy   France. 1h 38m.

Despite the name the film isn’t quite about being French but the tired old nationalistic ideas which make people believe that they are better for having been born in a certain country and using this as an excuse to be a general douchebag. But the magic of this familiar film is that despite the toxic nature of the mindless characters our lead manages to feel more pride in himself after he abandons his gang of violent misfits.

Marco (Lenoir) is a skinhead, a violent single track minded skinhead who feels pretty brave when he’s on the streets with his friends Braguette, Grand-Guy and Marvin. They spend their days intimidating anyone who looks foreign, damaging property and plastering up sticker and posters illustrating their neo nazi connections. At home life is more demoralizing, his father is a pathetic drunk and his mother just fumbles from one day to the other. While at work Marco gets on with everyone, he’s calm and productive and it’s unlike his street bravado, he’s just another guy. But still he feels as if he belongs with his gang and attends gathering and rallies and even falls in love with a chick who shares his ideals and they produce a darling baby girl. Continue reading Un Français / French Blood (2015)