Friday, December 2, 2011

Fat Brown Unicorn

Black Moon (1975) - Malle
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It starts with a young blond girl in disguise running over a badger with her car. She stops, looks at the body dispassionately, then drives off. So begins an Alice in Wonderland style, surrealist sexual awakening film by Louis Malle. The symbolism heavy imagery is never subtle and quite ungraceful; a unicorn, hawk, lambs, snakes and various other animals, naked children roaming, water overflowing, decapitation, full blown out artillery war between the sexes, Joe Dallesandro, breastfeeding etc. Still, it's beautiful to look at, thanks to Sven Nykvist's stunning photography and its star, Cathryn Harrison as Lily.

Like Alice, Lily goes under the similar treatment - bullied, ignored, seduced and abused. Her pale skin always visible through forever unbuttoned white shirt, on the verge of revealing what's (not)underneath, Lily gets to observe the world that is full of contradictions. The talking unicorn she is chasing after, without knowing why, is fat and brown, the old matriach of the rural mansion resorts to infantile desire, beautiful twenty something siblings (Dallesandro and Alexandra Stewart)don't talk at all but engage in a violent duel. Lily doesn't have a choice to go back to Kansas or wake up from a dream in Black Moon. She seems to accept the fucked up grown up world by the end. Black Moon is a messy, unruly film. It's too creepy and dark to be satirical. It's not quite enthralling as I hoped, yet still fascinating enough to watch.

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