Sunday, September 17, 2017

Alienness of Human Bodies

Malgre la nuit (2015) - Philippe Grandrieux
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Malgre la nuit plays out like a lurid Lars von Trier film, plot-wise. Gotta say, it is perhaps the most narrative heavy Philippe Grandrieux film to date. But the imagery he presents here is still tour-de-force. The bodies, the alienness of white human skins against its dark backdrop - in the woods, unlit bedroom, basement, whathaveyou... make strong visual impact and brings out visceral, emotional reaction from me. Grandrieux makes a good use of his two skinny actors bodies - Ariane Labed (Yorgos Lanthimos regular) and Kristian Marr. Often completely naked, with their fawn-like sad faces, they go through raw emotions of being in some kind of mythic tragic love story.

Lenz (Marr) is in town, looking for love of his life, unseen Marlene. At some sado-masochistic gathering, he meets Helen (Labed), a deeply troubled young woman with a Laura Palmer style deathwish. Through his sleazy friend Louis (Paul Hamy of The Ornithologist), Lenz is introduced to an alluring dream pop singer Lena (beguiling Roxane Mesquida). She falls for self-distructing Lenz and as he rejects her, she burns with jealousy for both Madelene and Helen. She will be relying on her powerful underground boss dad to exact revenge.

I've said this before. In Lynch's long absence, I welcomed Grandrieux's artistry to fill the void. They are kindred spirits in more ways than one - their love of texture, steeped in noir trappings, fatalistic love, the dark side of human desires etc. As Lynch came roaring back with Twin Peaks: The Return, their differences are more pronounced - Lynch loves puzzles and working in his inner logic, Grandrieux is only interested in images. And these are not criticism at all for either one of the artists. Just an observation. But seriously, narrative is for pussies.

Anyone knows how to get a hold of the soundtrack of Malgre la nuit, please let me know. I need Roxane Mesquida's sweet dream pop in my life!