‘Dirty Romance’ is unforgettable, in every wonderful and terrible sense of the word.
Fifty Shades of Grey is not horrible. In fact, the first hour isn’t bad at all. A dry, offbeat charm complements a delicate story structure that would be at home in any generic romance film. The second hour, however, is an epic endurance test. This material is woefully thin, and because the filmmakers have scaled back the smut factor, there’s not enough eye candy to keep things interesting, either. By the end, you’ll be fifty shades of bored.
With a narrative built on repetition – the cyclical nature of seasons, feelings and passions – The Duke of Burgundy’s unique structure defies traditional plot and narrative in favour of sensations and experiences. The film most notably has credits in the opening sequence for both the choice fragrance and the lingerie designs, a hint at the precedence luxury and sensuality has within this world. It becomes abundantly clear that breaking the film down in terms of plot betrays its absolute appeal as a masterpiece in haptic vision. (‘Haptic’ refers to ‘touching with your eyes’, though how can we similarly evoke the sensation of smell? Film criticism is lacking in this regard. We need an extensive study on the evocation of smell in cinema, just as there are studies on the way filmmakers conjure sound and music in silent cinema.) Written and directed by Peter Strickland, the film is about a lesbian couple engaged in an increasingly escalated S&M relationship, and when they’re not role-playing, they are lepidopterists (they study butterflies and moths).
A couple of years ago, Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio seemed to materialise from the ether and spear the hearts of giallo and cult murder movie fans everywhere with its exquisitely executed homage to the murdering grounds of Argento, Bava and Martino, so his long-anticipated follow-up as been eagerly received throughout the international festival circuit. This time Strickland has mounted a similar etymology of cult movie history in the form of 1970’s Eurotrash exploitation pictures, soft-core seductions from the likes of Jess Franco or Umberto Lenzi, with a reincarnation complete with creeping zooms, trance-like montages, and a rather flippant approach to narrative coherence, sacrificed on the altar of pure cinematic sensation.
Teas not only marks the emergence of one of the most interesting and disputed “auteurs” of the American cinema, but also proved to be a crucial film in the emergence of more risqué adult cinema. Not only in terms of exploitation and pornographic cinema, but in paving the way for more lax rules for Hollywood, which was at this point, still stubbornly holding on to the production code.
Paradies: Liebe (Paradise: Love) Directed by Ulrich Seidl Written by Ulrich Seidl and Veronika Franz 2012, Austria, Germany, France Anyone who has had an email account for long enough will attest to the tsunami of lude messages that clog the spam folder until they overflow into the inbox. They advertise magical ways to elongate …