23 December, 2007

DVD's of 2007

One of Alain Robbe-Grillet's directorial efforts finally made its way to R1 DVD. That's more than noteworthy. LA BELLE CAPTIVE (1983) is perhaps his most visually entrancing, elegant film yet. A teasing erotic melodrama, a tongue in cheek spy adventure, a psychoanalytic amusement, a invocation of the Angel of Death. An oneiric compilation of images from the cinema's collective unconscious, looking back to the erotic 70's vampire films of Jean Rollin and ahead to Kubrick's EYES WIDE SHUT, Robbe-Grillet positions his films outside of time and ontological reality, which allows the mythologies which undermine human interactions to become visible.

To quote my original imdb review, based on a rather fuzzy video dupe with no English options:

"An erotic, virtual reality puzzle for the adventurous viewer..., 7 August 2000Author: bobmonell from New York
LA BELLE CAPTIVE may be Robbe-Grillet's most entertaining and accomplished film. It dazzles the eye by creating a series of secret encounters inspired by Magritte's surrealist painting, which the director named his film after. You don't have to know anything about art to enjoy this film, though. Motifs from vampire films and erotic thrillers are interwoven with more hermetic scenes, but it's somehow all held together by the repeated image of a black clad woman riding a motorcycle. The central situation of a man on a mysterious sexual mission and some individual scenes bear a striking resemblance to Stanley Kubrick's EYES WIDE SHUT (1999). "

In fact, now that they are both on DVD, a double bill of LA BELLE CAPTIVE and EYES WIDE SHUT would be most provocative. A Master Class on how two geniuses approach the same material.

Let's hope the rest of his compelling filmography (especially his early b&w L'IMMORTELLE, TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS, THE MAN WHO LIES, all of which will be reviewed on this blog in 2008) follows suit, including his most recent GRADIVA, which put local French critics in the attack mode.

Having heard Robbe-Grillet discourse on his cinema I can only hope the octogenarian is invited to do one of his charming commentaries by a enterprising DVD company on a much desired SE digital presentation of any of the above mentioned titles.

(c) 2000-2007 Robert Monell

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