09 February, 2009

WANTED ON DVD: TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS


Take a journey...





The Art of bondage... and vice-versa.





Dangerous reading....





Alain Robbe-Grillet: creator of literary/cinematic ambiguity...



Elias (Jean-Louis Trintignant) examines a pistol which has been hidden in a book. Such are the linguistic challenges of the films directed by the late Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922-2008). Exactly one of his directed films, LA BELLE CAPTIVE (1984) has had a R1 DVD presentation. But given their mixture of transgressive eroticism, literary/mythological subtexts and cinematic experimentation, that's simply not acceptable. There's a certain market for these films out there. Most important of all, his films, especially TEE, are teasing, highly intelligent, artistically adventurous entertainment.

I actually took the TEE from Paris to Antwerp, when I visited a friend in Belgium in 1973, with Robbe Grillet's elusive film [I hadn't yet seen it] very much on my mind. In fact I might have lounged in that very train car seen in the above shot. Who knows? Ambiguity is at the center of ARG's work, emotional/stylistic/ontological ambiguity. It's between the lines of his prose and behind the imagery in his films. TEE is a crime thriller wrapped in an enigma. An S&M journey into a put-on, deconstructionist adventure, like THE FRENCH CONNECTION as if directed by Jean Cocteau! The opening and closing shots bracket it as another ARG game within a film, leaving us delightfully mystified as the auteur flashes his somewhat chilling smile. Take a ride on the Trans Europ Express, but don't let down your guard...

You really can't describe this film, you have to see it. Is Severin listening?


(c) Robert Monell, 2009




3 comments:

franconomicon said...

The Spanish Filmoteca is doing an AR-G retrospective, including this one and L'INMORTELLE, L'EDEN ET APRES, L'HOMME QUI MENT and GLISSEMENTS PROGRESIFS... A great and rare chance to see those films on the big screen.

Robert Monell said...

A great and rare chance to see those films on the big screen.

Thanks for the information on this, Alex. ARG actually preferred to have his films viewed on the big screen in cinemas rather than video presentations.

Buko-san said...

Hi there Robert, I've been catching up on your blog for the past couple of days (I'm way late, disappeared off the net a while) and maybe you speak of it in a blog that I haven't read yet but some of Robbe-Grillet's films are available in beautifully restored & anamorphic versions on DVD in Italy by RHV. I was surprised myself when I stumbled upon them a couple of months back.

They are L'EDEN ET APRÈS, TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS, GRADIVA and LA BELLE CAPTIVE. Unfortunately, there are no English options on any of the films (only French or Italian). Bootlegs of these are going around with English subs added though.

Go to the label's website if you wish: http://www.rhv.it and search by director (regista).

Cheers,
Patrick