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Isaach De Bankolé,
Shane and June Brown are an American couple honeymooning in Paris in an effort to nurture their new life together, a life complicated by Shane''s mysterious and frequent visits to a medical clinic where cutting edge studies of the human libido are undertaken. When Shane seeks out a self-exiled expert in the field, he happens upon the doctor''s wife, another victim of the same malady. She has become so dangerous and emotionally paralyzed by the condition that her husband imprisons her by day in their home. It is Shane's chance encounter with this woman that triggers an event so cataclysmic and shocking it might just lead him to rediscover the tranquility he seeks to restore for himself and his new bride. Written by
Beatrice Dalle is a hypnotizing presence to me. Clair Denis has an ability to cover and penetrate the skin. She is a Jarmusch who can put his abstract angst in estrogenal terms, with as much cinematic competence. There is a tendency to compare her to Catherine Breillat. That is a mistake we guys make because both see as women. But Brellait is all about damage, the inevitability of damage. Denis on the other hand is about hope as an urge among desperate urges. They couldn't be more different.
These two women, Dalle and Denis have an understanding and make something here. It is not comfortable. For many of us, I can imagine it will be destabilizing because this really could be a deep as real pain. This is not a horror movie. It is a love story, like "Realm of the Senses," or "Pillow Book," but instead of allowing us the safety of "watching," it forces us to inhabit the fear of passion.
And. And it is from a woman who, for instance, knows that when you photograph skin, it is the movement of hair that matters, and when you get intimate, the hairs must be those finest, those ones that only a lover sees and makes move. Gallo is an intelligent actor. He is unafraid to go to these places. In a way, this is a woman's "Brown Bunny." He helps a lot. In the background are clueless beauties, men and women, who are destroyed, like the cars in an action movie's chase scene.
Dalle made this the same year she made "H Story," which I count as one of the purest of film abstractions. It worked in part because she pulled nervous sweat and menstrual blood into those abstractions. Here she does precisely the opposite. She really does need to be celebrated.
You may want the much tamer adventures in this domain: "cat People," Or even the lesser "The Hunger."
We need to have a way to indicate a commercial airliner arriving that is better than the shot used here and 100,000 other places.
The song over the end credits is a pretty marvelous appreciation of Frank Zappa, whose earliest song provides the title. That music had the same sort of visceral, destructive purity.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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