Tag Archives: New French Extremity

Demonlover (2002) Movie Review

This review of Olivier Assayas’ Demonlover is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

The premise of Olivier Assayas’ 2002 film Demonlover sounds like that of a sleazy exploitation film: business suits battle over the corporate control of violent online pornography, some animated and some far too real. It is a similar premise to the 2008 American thriller Untraceable. One could call Gregory Hoblit’s film a remake if the cold-hearted white collar types where replaced with agents of the law.

demonlover-2002-movie-review

But Demonlover is much more fascinating without the white hat of the law. In the film, the law is so far removed that it feels as though these executives could do whatever they needed to Continue reading Demonlover (2002) Movie Review

Advertisements

Criminal Lovers (2000) Movie Review

This review of Francois Ozon’s Criminal Lovers is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Francois Ozon’s Criminal Lovers begins as a Bonnie & Clyde narrative, where two kids of 17 kill a man in passion and go on the lam, robbing jewelry stores and convenience stores to get by as they make their way into the countryside. Then, it becomes something more akin to a Hansel & Gretel tale of survival.

criminal-lovers-movie-review

Alice (Natacha Regnier) convinces Luc (Jeremie Renier) to help her kill Continue reading Criminal Lovers (2000) Movie Review

Sheitan (2006) Movie Review

This review of Kim Chapiron’s Sheitan is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

The abrupt open to Sheitan is an utter delight. The first image is a closeup on a man’s shocked face. He asks if we’re ready. There is indistinct noise, perhaps in protest, from outside of the frame. He asks again. Then, he begins scratching a turntable, and we are introduced to a rowdy night club that presents us with the energy of the film. Text appears on the screen that reads: “Do not forgive them, for they know what they do.”

sheitan-satan-movie-review-2006

In this night club are three men who are quickly thrown out for one of their transgressions against patrons. The transgressor, Bart (Olivier Barthelemy), has some issues with anger and sexual aggression toward women (and apparently bad breath).

Before being kicked out, however, they meet Eve (Roxane Mesquida), who invites the three men and Yasmine (Leila Bekhti) to her eccentric home in the country, which is filled with Continue reading Sheitan (2006) Movie Review

Calvaire (The Ordeal) (2005) Movie Review

This review of Fabrice du Welz’ Calvaire is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Marc Stevens (Laurent Lucas) is a singer. He wows crowds at retirement homes, but he wants to make it big. On the road to a big Christmas gig, his car breaks down in the woods. A man (Jean-Luc Couchard) in search for his dog leads Marc to an isolated inn run by a man named Bartel (Jackie Berroyer).

calvaire-2005-fabrice-du-welz-movie-review-new-french-extremity-horror

Bartel appears an honest, genial innkeeper. In the morning, he tows Marc’s van to the inn and helps to repair it. But he also Continue reading Calvaire (The Ordeal) (2005) Movie Review

Twentynine Palms (2003) Movie Review

This review of Bruno Dumont’s Twentynine Palms is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Bruno Dumont’s Twentynine Palms begins unassuming and unsuspecting, with two lovers (David Wissack and Katerina Golubeva) riding down the California highway. It then continues unassuming for the next hour.

twentynine-palms-2003-moview-review-new-french-extremity-bruno-dumont

He is an American photographer, and she is a Russian immigrant. They speak different languages, yet they seem to Continue reading Twentynine Palms (2003) Movie Review

Sombre (1998) Movie Review

This review of Philippe Grandrieux’s Sombre is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Sombre is a film that is best described as “rattled.”

The film returns most often to two locations: the home where Jean (Marc Barbe) brings women to kill them and the car that he takes to either dump their bodies or watch the Tour de France.

In both locations the camera is often bouncing around on tight shots of the action. The camera is so tight and frantically moving, in fact, that it is often impossible to discern exactly what act is being carried out and to whom.

sombre-1998-movie-review-new-french-extremity-movement

This process of understanding what is happening is not helped by scenes that appear to be shot with natural light at night (at the very least, there is the absence of a three-point lighting system), making these scenes hard to Continue reading Sombre (1998) Movie Review

I Stand Alone (1998) Movie Review

This review of Gaspar Noe’s I Stand Alone is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Rage is a palpable force in I Stand Alone, the first feature film from Gaspar Noe. It is a rage against French society. Philippe Nahon’s The Butcher displaces this rage, his inner monologue tearing apart anyone in his path. What results is a protagonist that comes off as sexist, racist, homophobic, and overall nihilistic.

I-stand-alone-1998-new-french-extremity-movie-review-gaspar-noe-philippe-nahon

But The Butcher is also a sad man. All he wants is to Continue reading I Stand Alone (1998) Movie Review