A sad man meets a beautiful, secretive woman who may or may not be involved in some conspiracy ring dealing in kidnapped women used as prostitutes. After several days of their sadly ... See full summary »
A film director, Jean, his producer, Marc, and his assistant, Lucette, board the Trans-Europ-Express in Paris bound for Antwerp. Once in their compartment it occurs to them that the drama ... See full summary »
Walter is told by his boss, Sara, to deliver an urgent letter to Henri de Corinthe. On the way he finds a beautiful woman he had been eying in a nightclub, lying in the road, bound up. He ... See full summary »
A jaded, wealthy couple watch a blue movie in their castle home along with her adult son. The son is testy, so they go into town and watch a circus-like thrill ride. The daredevil woman in ... See full summary »
A young woman is questioned by the police and the judges, suspected of being a modern witch. The girl who shared her apartment has been found dead, and a pair of scissors impaled through ... See full summary »
The Blue Villa is a seedy bordello on a Mediterranean island where the villages are frightened by the ghost-like return of a young man, who mysteriously disappeared after the killing of a young Eurasian woman.
Dimitri de Clercq,
When Carolina (Anicee Alvina), the daughter of wealthy banker Georges de Saxe (Philippe Noiret), is reported kidnapped, it is upsetting to him even though he knows it isn't true. The ... See full summary »
Jan Sikl expertly edits together actual home-movie footage from the 1920s to the 1960s in order to chronicle the history of Czechoslovakia in the 20th century. In eight episodes of 52 ... See full summary »
Katrin and Jürgen spend their holidays in Corsica. Katrin is in her mid-thirties, working as a tracer at Jürgen's company who suddenly remembers he's married -- but not with Kathrin. So ... See full summary »
Alice in S&M Land or The Post-Modern Marquis De Sade
Philosophical thriller or Post-Modern jigsaw or S&M skinflick - or all three at once - Alain Robbe-Grillet's first colour film is a dazzling, at times frustrating experience. Try to imagine Alice in Wonderland crossed with Story of O and you may get some idea of the perverse sensibility at work behind it. Starting off in a labyrinthine, mirror-lined nightclub called Eden, moving on to a disused factory with huge industrial vats full of sperm, ending up on the Tunisian island of Djerba - with, naturally, a detour through a jet-set torture chamber where glamorous naked women are crucified or suspended in cages - Robbe-Grillet takes his wide-eyed and waif-like heroine (Catherine Jourdan) on a spiritual and erotic odyssey to...what exactly? Sorry, but I don't know either.
Nor does Robbe-Grillet seem the tiniest bit inclined to let us in on the secret. According to a mysterious stranger (Pierre Zimmer) who breaks in on Jourdan and her jaded pals, it's something to do with transcending the limits of rational Western consciousness. Finding a darker and more primitive reality. "Break on through to the other side" - or so The Doors might put it. Intriguing enough in a drugged-up late 60s kind of way, but Robbe-Grillet's own personal "doors of perception" don't seem to open very far beyond a spot of mild flagellation, or some Emmanuelle-style sex tourism on a photogenic Third World beach.
At least the film is exquisite to behold. Its imagery is bizarre and erotic and disturbing. Catherine Jourdan - who went on to make even weirder movies with director/husband Alain Fleischer - is a lovely heroine in the tradition of the Marquis de Sade's Justine. She combines the doe-eyed fragility of a Mia Farrow with the icy blonde sensuality of a Catherine Deneuve. As her lover, Richard Leduc is undeniably handsome - but he seems far too sweet and mild-mannered for some seriously nasty sex-games with a blindfold and a bucket of scorpions. As for any ultimate meaning, you may or may not want to work that out. I suspect most of us would be happier not knowing.
Incidentally, Eden and After is one of Robbe-Grillet's MORE linear films in terms of plot - yet it's also one of his hardest to grasp. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned from that, but - once again - don't ask me what!
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