HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Aurora Encounter, The
Breaking In
Breaking In
Please Stand By
Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County, The
Deadpool 2
Smart Money
Lupin the Third vs. Detective Conan: The Movie
Gangsta
3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt
Magic Serpent, The
That's Not Me
There Goes the Bride
Billy the Kid versus Dracula
Liquid Sword
I, Tonya
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Bad Match
Güeros
Anchor and Hope
One, The
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Lucky
Still of the Night
Home Sweet Homicide
Mannaja - A Man Called Blade
Spitfire
Killers from Space
Castle of the Creeping Flesh
Ghost Stories
   
 
Newest Articles
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
   
 
  Belle Captive, La Angel of DeathBuy this film here.
Year: 1983
Director: Alain Robbe-Grillet
Stars: Daniel Mesguich, Cyrielle Clair, Daniel Emilfork, François Chaumette, Gabrielle Lazure, Gilles Arbona, Arielle Dombasle, Jean-Claude Leguay, Nancy Van Slyke, Roland Dubillard
Genre: Horror, Drama, Sex, Weirdo, Fantasy
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: On a mission for the mysterious “Organization” headed by leather-clad biker angel Sara Zeitgeist (Cyrielle Clair), the enigmatic Walter Raim (Daniel Mesguich) stops off at a dreamy nightclub where the beautiful, blonde Marie-Ange (Gabrielle Lazure) flaunts herself before his voyeuristic gaze. Shortly thereafter he returns to the road only to find Marie-Ange lying there, handcuffed, her dress in tatters, smeared in blood. He brings the semi-conscious woman back to a villa where a gaggle of debonair yet menacing gentlemen resuscitate her with a glass of suspicious red liquid. Locked in a bedroom together, Walter and Marie-Ange end up in the throes of passion, until the next morning he discovers the girl has vanished, the villa is eerily empty and his neck is bleeding. Then things get really weird.

Writer, filmmaker and essayist Alain Robbe-Grillet is one of the heavyweights of the French avant-garde. Hugely influential, he straddles the art-house/pop culture divide with admirable aplomb in his native France, drawing parallels between experimental literature, pornography, pulp fiction, gothic horror, comic books and classical art, but is barely mentioned in the English language world save for being the screenwriter of Last Year at Marienbad (1961). Throughout his often controversial career Robbe-Grillet has had a fair few commercial successes without compromising his surreal-erotic impulses, including Trans-Europ-Express (1966), Slow Slidings of Pleasure (1974) and Playing with Fire (1975), but La Belle Captive is commonly considered his most accessible film.

Inspired by the same-titled paintings by René Magritte and Edouard Manet, that were also the basis of a photo-novel Robbe-Grillet authored in 1976, La Belle Captive’s dreamy, ethereal plot gives the impression of being free-flowing but is remarkably cohesive, more a case of elliptical storytelling than surrealism for surrealism’s sake. Robbe-Grillet revisits familiar themes and imagery that go all the way back to Marienbad: the gulf between men and women bridged by desire; deja-vous; dislocations in time and space; dreams within dreams; eerily deserted and luxurious mansions slowly ravaged by time; the irresistible allure of amour fou.

As authors Pete Tombs and Cathal Tohill observed in their indispensable “Immoral Tales”, the nearest comparison to what Robbe-Grillet sets out to achieve with his elegant essays in sado-eroticism can be found in the horror-porn ghettoes inhabited by Jess Franco or Jean Rollin. This is the closest Robbe-Grillet has come to making a horror film in its implication that Marie-Ange may be either a vampire, a vengeful spirit or some spectral apparition conjured by her parapsychologist father (Roland Dubillard) with his brainwave machine. From there it’s not too far a jump to Franco’s Venus in Furs (1969) or Rollin’s Fascination (1979). And yet certain elements like the elegant soiree where sharp-suited playboys abuse women for their pleasure or the cruel twist that reunites one character with the alluring Angel of Death, foreshadow mainstream efforts like Eyes Wide Shut (1999) or Angel Heart (1987). Although, for all his sado-erotic impulses, Robbe-Grillet is far less despairing than Stanley Kubrick and less pretentious than Alan Parker.

Beneath the magical atmosphere conjured by the incomparable cinematographer Henri Alekan - whose visual gifts illuminated La Belle et la Bette (1946) and indulges some primitive but still striking use of video effects here - runs a vein of gleefully silly humour. Note the messenger boy doing weird things with his bicycle, or Sara’s motorcycle residing right beside her 18th century boudoir, or the opera-singing mental patient played by sexy Arielle Dombasle (who appeared in Lace around the same time! How’s that for contrasts?).

Scored with sublime snippets of Schubert, La Belle Captive carries a palpable erotic frisson whenever Gabrielle Lazure and Cyrielle Clair grace the screen. Frequently undraped and lovingly bathed in Alekan’s golden hues, they’re suitably captivating angels of death although, as ever with Robbe-Grillet, the question remains whether they are prisoners of our gaze or we’re prisoners to their’s.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2377 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
  Dan Malone
   

 

Last Updated: