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Querelle (1982)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 3,473 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 27 critic

French sailor Querelle arrives in Brest and starts frequenting a strange whorehouse. He discovers that his brother Robert is the lover of the lady owner, Lysiane. Here, you can play dice ... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Querelle (1982)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Lieutenant Seblon
...
Lysiane
Laurent Malet ...
Roger Bataille
Hanno Pöschl ...
Robert / Gil
Günther Kaufmann ...
Nono
Burkhard Driest ...
Mario
Roger Fritz ...
Marcellin
Dieter Schidor ...
Vic Rivette
Natja Brunckhorst ...
Paulette
Robert van Ackeren ...
Betrunkener Legionär
Werner Asam ...
Arbeiter
...
Mädchen
Axel Bauer ...
Arbeiter
Neil Bell ...
Theo
Edit

Storyline

French sailor Querelle arrives in Brest and starts frequenting a strange whorehouse. He discovers that his brother Robert is the lover of the lady owner, Lysiane. Here, you can play dice with Nono, Lysiane's husband : if you win, you are allowed to make love with Lysiane, if you lose, you have to make love with Nono... Querelle loses on purpose... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It will take you into a surreal world of passion and sexuality, further than most would dare to go. [Video Australia]

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

8 September 1982 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Kerel  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 4,400,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Dolby stereo)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's source novel "Querelle de Brest" by Jean Genet was originally published anonymously with a small limited print-run of only 460 numbered copies. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: And humility can only be born of humiliation, otherwise it is nothing but vanity.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Wizard of Babylon (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Each Man Kills The Things He Loves
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Oscar Wilde
Music by Peer Raben
Performed by Jeanne Moreau
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hey sailor...
21 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Querelle is an erotic fable about several closeted tough guys loitering around the French Navy port Brest, in some indeterminate timeframe. In a go-for-broke concept, Q shines a spotlight on the latent homosexuality in supposedly straight activities like the military, gambling, fighting, ports-of-call, whore-houses, etc.. It has more fetish imagery for gay men than Ben Hur or the Ten Commandments.

Basically five or six male figures ponder, intellectualize and ruminate themselves into and out of mechanical couplings. Genet's fringe figures (...the most verbal, stylized brutes ever) wrestle with their suppressed homosexual urges, but remain inactive until a suitable pretext can be found to copulate with the guy who's driving them to distraction, or, (just as good) till they find some criminal outlet to discharge their energy. It's all loosely strung together by an occasional narrator who's a few mint juleps away from a coma. It's as fragmented as Petronius' Satyricon, and Genet himself, writing from prison, was always a million analytical miles away from his own experiences. It's no surprise that a Genet film has problems with forward momentum and bogs down in ideas: weird, erotic, complex and spiritual. With the amount of time you'd need to spend viewing and re-viewing this incoherent movie to get something out of it, why not read the book?

Even if you can get past the artifice of the unsubtle stage set (with its faux-masonry phalluses), this would still be over the top; as campy as humanly possible because the acting has been taken to such a strange level of abstraction. "A" will overtly tell "B" what B's backstory and emotional temperament are, as an odd way to get info to the audience ...and the story still ends up emotionally and psychologically diffuse. It feels like a half-hearted dress rehearsal, where everyone has been told to suppress all hints of their motivations.

You could find any number of things here to mock, but for me Brad Davis' bloodless line readings are toxic. Kudos to him for taking on such a difficult project, but as the central figure, his muted performance is just too flat to hold the movie together. His entire audition may have consisted of the single line, "Could you oil up and try on this tank top?" It's a mystery why Rocky Horror became a cult movie with lines shouted back at its absurdities, but this didn't. (...guy in dragon-lady drag? check! ...twinkie in Shirley Temple wig? check!)

Querelle is an experimental, epic piece of erotic deflation, generally too challenging, complex and inert for any audience that it might reach, ...kind of like a Genet book actually. It expects a certain maturity from an audience, to grapple with its dense weave of sexual ideas, but it's also pretty darned silly on its face. You can explore the transcendent aspects of sex and crime by entering Genet's world, or you could just go have some forbidden sex and rob a convenience store ...then ruminate.


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