The French naval ship, Le Vengeur, based out of Marseille, has just docked in Brest for an extended stay. The ship's captain, Lieutenant Seblon, can see the passion in his men, which can as easily manifest itself in violence as it can in sex. Seblon has in part become an officer to remain at arms length from his men, one of them, Querelle, with who he is secretly in love. Querelle goes to La Feria, a bar and makeshift whorehouse owned and operated by husband and wife Nono and Lysiane, one of the whores. La Feria is infamous and notorious as anyone wanting sex with Lysiane must first roll the dice with Nono, Nono winning meaning that he will get to sodomize the loser instead. At La Feria, Querelle is surprised to see his brother, Robert, who is Lysiane's current on-going sexual partner, and who did not have to go through the roll of the dice with Nono is his special position with Lysiane. That passion in Querelle extends to his brother, the two who share more than just a family ...Written by
The film was selected to screen in competition at the Venice Film Festival in 1982. That year, the Golden Lion for Best Film went to Wim Wenders'The State of Things (1982). This was much to the disapproval of French director Marcel Carné who withdrew as President of the Jury after releasing the following statement: "I would love to make a personal statement. While being President of the Jury, I would love to express my disappointment in not having been able to convince my colleagues to place R.W. Fassbinder's 'Querelle' among the winners. As a matter of fact, I've found myself alone in defending the movie. Nevertheless, I keep on thinking that, although controversial, R.W. Fassbinder's final movie, want it or not, love it or hate it, will one day find its place in the history of cinema". The statement appears as an introductory prologue at the beginning of the film on DVDs and video-cassettes in Italy. See more »
The thought of murder often evokes thoughts of the sea and of sailors. What naturally follows thoughts of the sea and murder is the thought of love or sexuality.
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This attempt to film Genet is commendable in tackling so difficult a work. Fassbinder's scenery is so obviously studio sets that the film takes on a "filmed play" quality. The color is beautiful, and the cast is very attractive. I had difficulty in following the proceedings, and much of the printed quotatons were puzzling. Some of the fantasy inserts were likewise confusing. But the strong cast made up for many of these weak points and raised the film to a level it would otherwise never have achieved. It is still lesser Fassbinder, but an often fascinating film to watch.
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