Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Arielle Dombasle, James Wilby
Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
A highly erotic, gothic mystery, in the style of Hitchcock's "Vertigo", from Alain Robbe-Grillet, writer of the Oscar-nominated "Last Year At Marienbad" and director of the notorious "Trans-Europ Express". — An English hist... more »
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Classic Late Robbe-Grillet
Gary Harris | Washington, DC | 09/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an extraordinary film, an oneiric phantasmagoria capping Robbe-Grillet's career as a filmmaker. If you're new to his work, whether as a director or as a novelist, don't worry if you start off thinking it's the story of the discovery of some lost Delacroix sketches, then change your mind and see it as the story of a frame-up, and then change your mind again and take it for a psychological thriller, and then see it as a retelling of Madama Butterfly. (If you're not new to his work, you'll be expecting something like this.) It's all those things, and, while you won't be able to lay out the cause-and-effect relationships of all the pieces on graph paper, it nonetheless all coheres. The realism of classic storytelling--the Dickensian or Balzacian plot--has never had a place in Robbe-Grillet, but he offers instead a vision of reality beneath what we've trained ourselves to see day-to-day. In this he shows himself an heir of the Surrealists, and it's not for nothing that Gradiva's male lead is named John Locke. Indeed, one rather droll way of reading the film is as a critique of the sort of rationalism the flesh-and-blood Locke espoused. So approach this as a cinematic dream. (Indeed, pay particular attention to the little scene in which we learn all about the profession of dream acting, including how the government, while banning a great many things, still permits murders and sexual crimes to occur in dreams; Robbe-Grillet's sense of humor too often goes unnoticed.) The film does contain a good deal of sado-erotic imagery, but it's of a curious type, with none of that Dickensian realism to it, but rather the stuff of dreams, at least certain ones. Make of it what you will, but Robbe-Grillet never was a respecter of convention, and I suspect there is at least an element of épater le bourgeois to be had here."
Cool atmospherics, circumambulatory story
The Tao of Netflix | Washington, DC | 12/03/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was an interesting French film shot in Morocco. From what I'm coming to learn as an ignorant American is that the French certainly appreciate erotic cinema, and this movie is no exception. In fact, the movie is primarily concerned with a more underground type of eroticism, looking at Arab/Moroccan sex slaves, torture (lightly), etc. The movie also explores a Frenchman investigating Delacroix (sp?) and his experiences in Morocco and a legendary French woman who may or may not have been his lover, who may or may not have been executed by Moroccans, and, further, who may or may not be a ghost haunting the Moroccan streets. Largely, that story takes a very backseat to the movie's visual displays of the ribald, which are, for the most part, very well done. There are strong atmospheric elements, with good camera work, lighting, scene composition, etc. The acting is at least passably good too. Overall, its really not about any particular story, but is an interesting visual evolution for the eyes, considering the great Moroccan visuals, the perverse eroticism, etc. A recommended rental for sure."