Wednesday, November 21, 2012

La faute de l'abbé Mouret (1970)

Having watched Judex, which is also by director Georges Franju, I expected this movie to be a sort of dreamy-like. It turns out Judex is a better film, although there are those dreamy parts in La faute de l'abbé Mouret. Adapted from Émile Zola's novel, this is a sad movie - as expected.

Young Father Mouret is a handsome priest who believes that he can do good in the world, or at least in the little village where he lives. Almost no one comes to Mass, but when a villager is dying, Father Mouret thinks it's necessary that he gives the person the last sacrament - although when he arrives in that house, no one pay attention to him because they are busy searching the dead person's hidden gold coins. When his uncle, a doctor, comes to see an 'unfaithful man' who lives in a big house called Paradou (Paradise?), Father Mouret goes with him - hoping to be able to make the 'unfaithful man' a believer. He fails, but there he lays eyes on the non-believer's niece: a beautiful girl, wild and free, named Albine. She is as beautiful as the church's new statue of Virgin Mary.

Then Father Mouret falls ill and his uncle doctor takes him to Paradou, where Mouret is taken care by Albine. Because of his illness Mouret forgets everything - sort of amnesia - and as time passes, he and Albine are falling in love. These are the most beautiful parts of the movie. Mouret and Albine are like Adam and Eve in Eden. After they consummated their love, the wall that circles the garden of Paradou is broken by a thunder, and Father Mouret sees his friend, an older priest, and the village. He remembers everything, realizes what he has done, leaves Albine and Paradou, and seeks forgiveness.

Albine tries to make Mouret back to her, but as a priest, Mouret must not touch a woman, let alone marry her. Why such a love so beautiful as theirs, must be destroyed? Why loving her is such a big sin? Albine finally commits suicide and Father Mouret buries her in the church's cemetery, despite the older priest's protest because she was a non believer.

Friday, November 2, 2012

You Belong To Me by Karen Rose

Like 'No One Left To Tell', 'You Belong To Me' was also hard to put down. The story is fast paced, with various characters. A brutal serial murderer is terrorizing Baltimore, leaving bodies and body parts to be found by the heroine : Lucy Trask, a Medical Examiner; so the case must be connected to her somehow. However, Lucy hasn't got a clue about it. Well, in the end, we know that the murderer himself is a mad man who gets the reason of his murders a bit wrong. He becomes an avenging angel for his dead sister. He blames everybody for the ruin of his family, while those he blames, even though they are not angels, they also not that guilty.

The brutality of the murders reminds me of books by Philip Margolin, so it's rather a surprise that a woman can write stories like this.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Un papillon sur l'épaule (1978)

Lino Ventura started out as a wrestler before becoming a movie star and he usually played as a gangster, so he was not exactly what we call a methodical actor; but he was surprisingly very good in this psychological thriller.

Lino Ventura played Roland Fériaud, a Frenchman who just arrived in Hotel Colon in Barcelona. He checks in, goes into the elevator, and when he is entering his hotel room, he hears a moan from the room next-door. He knocks, enters, sees a body on the bed, and somebody hits his head. When he wakes up, he is in a deserted hospital, with only a doctor, a nurse, and a lunatic patient whose face resembles the body he saw back in the hotel. This lunatic man talks to an imaginary butterfly on his shoulder and adores a scarecrow on a bed in his room.

The doctor lets Roland go after convincing him that he has too much imagination. He goes back to Hotel Colon and meets a lady who is looking for her husband whose description matches the lunatic man. Roland tells the lady to make a report to the police. Then Roland's wife comes to join him, but then kidnapped and the kidnappers demands to trade her for a suitcase which Roland has no idea about.

This is a story of a mistaken identity, a man in the wrong place and in the wrong time. Being in a foreign country, Roland has no one to help him. His holiday turns into a nightmare and nothing will ever be the same.

The movie is rather slow, like Jacques Deray's previous movie La Piscine(1968); but Un papillon sur l'épaule has more suspense. The sight of the second dead body was very horrifying for me.