HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
   
 
Newest Articles
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Amer A giallo state of mindBuy this film here.
Year: 2010
Director: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Stars: Cassandra Forêt, Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud, Marie Bos, Bianca Maria D’Amato, Harry Cleven, Delphine Brual, Jean-Michel Vovk, Bernard Marbaix
Genre: Horror, Drama, Weirdo
Rating:  9 (from 1 vote)
Review: This ingenious art-house psychodrama dazzled critics and angered some horror fans for much the same reason. For though Amer pays homage to the Italian giallo horror-thrillers of yesteryear, it is not a violent murder mystery at all. Instead, debuting writer-directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani adopt the visual motifs of the giallo genre’s foremost pioneers, Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and others, with their propensity for psychosexual surrealism and sensual strangeness, to produce a probing psychological study of a young woman’s burgeoning sexuality. The end result is wondrously crafted and simply a superb piece of cinema.

Our story unfolds in three parts. In the first, a little girl named Ana (Cassandra Forêt) inhabits a spooky old mansion where her stern mother (Bianca Maria D’Amato) and father (Jean-Michel Vovk) mourn the death of her grandfather (Bernard Marbaix). Through a keyhole, Ana spies a mysterious, black veiled figure lurking in her grandfather’s room, who may be the family’s troublesome maid Graziella (Delphine Brual) or else something else entirely. Drawn to shiny golden watch clasped in the old man’s lifeless fingers, the child unwisely pilfers the trinket.

What follows is a nerve-jangling tribute to the “Drop of Water” segment from Bava’s Black Sabbath (1964) by way of Argento’s Suspiria (1977). The child is first taunted by ghostly visions of dripping water, then pursued both by the ghastly, wraithlike maid and the old man’s shambling, rotten corpse. However, the key moment occurs midway through the chase wherein Ana stumbles inside her parents’ bedroom and spies them having sex. This sight so incomprehensible to her young mind that the movie itself, audaciously breaks down in one of several inspired, apt and evocative editing flourishes indulged by Cattet and Forzani.

Some years later, the second story opens on the image of an ant crawling across the navel of a now beautiful, teenaged Ana (Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud - who resembles a young Beatrice Dalle). The soundtrack plays a thematically apt excerpt from Stelvio Cipriani’s score for What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (1974) as an array of sensual close-ups on lips, skin and fluttering hair convey her blossoming allure. A walk into town with her mother turns into a game of sexual one-upmanship as they subtly vie for the attention of every male around. Ana is ogled by a little boy playing football and later by a biker gang whose attentions seem both menacing and exciting.

Whereas your average giallo was contentedly voyeuristic, Cattet and Forzani are as much interested in probing young Ana’s psychological reaction to all this attention. Virtually dialogue free, events unfold largely through pure cinema: a startling, stimulating collage of frantic sighs and anatomical close-ups, skin against skin, leaves caressing flesh, dress hems flapping in the wind, culminating in an extraordinary chase montage between Ana and the boy wherein the rhythmic editing conveys the giddy head-rush of adolescent passion, almost mimicking the sexual act itself.

In the third story, the adult Ana (Marie Bos) returns home after a cab ride becomes another erotically-charged battle of wills with the brutish driver (Harry Cleven). Italian pop star/actor Adriano Celentano croons the theme from Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1962) as Ana arrives back at the house haunted by either literal or figurative ghosts from her past. As she wanders through the overgrown garden, grassy stems and thorny plants appear to reach forth and caress her body, while the mansion’s crumbling interiors immediately evoke memories of Bava’s Lisa and the Devil (1973) and Shock (1976), both stories of women whose minds are warped by exposure to decaying haunted houses. But it is Bava’s Blood and Black Lace (1964) we think of when a psycho-killer in a black trenchcoat tries to drown Ana in the bathtub then pursues her through the woods, a tense cat and mouse set-piece styled after Torso (1973) but culminating in a twist evocative of Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1969) that, while guessable, is intriguingly perverse. Cattet and Forzani's bravura filmic technique draws viewers into a realm of the senses, but is equally interested in stimulating our collective intellect in a manner that sets this apart from many gialli that have their roots in the exploitation genre. It is a rare film that successfully draws us inside someone's inner world and gives us the heady thrill of seeing our surroundings through fresh eyes. Horror fans should lay their prejudices aside and savour this for the heady, intoxicating cinematic potpourri of ideas that it is.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3074 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
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: