HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Barocco Double Depardieu
Year: 1976
Director: André Téchiné
Stars: Isabelle Adjani, Gérard Depardieu, Marie-France Pisier, Jean-Claude Brialy, Julien Guiomar, Hélène Surgère, Jean-François Stévenin
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Romance, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Laure (Isabelle Adjani) convinces her boyfriend Samson (Gérard Depardieu), a small-time boxer, to pose for a photo-shoot, not realising it is part of a sleazy smear campaign against a politician with whom Samson once had a gay relationship. Offered six million francs to keep his mouth shut and leave town, Samson duly agrees. But once aboard the getaway train he is shot dead by a man who is his identical double (Depardieu again). Traumatised by this surreal turn of events, Laure seeks help from the police but is herself sought by the killer. Not only does he want the six million francs but he asks her for shelter, since the conspirators aim to tie up all the loose ends by killing him too.

Barocco draws its title from a literary work by Cuban poet and cultural theorist Severo Sarduy, although director/co-writer André Téchiné was also inspired by a painting by Rubens called “The Exchange of Princesses” which shows one figure becoming a copy of another. His film tends to divide French film fans between those who see it as a profound existential thriller and those that consider it a pretentious, implausible mess headed by an uncharacteristically weak performance from Isabelle Adjani. The latter claim is hard to fathom given Adjani exudes charisma as the coquettish yet spirited heroine. Although some critics maintain the film gives Gérard Depardieu few opportunities to display the breadth of his talent, he gives an equally edgy yet sympathetic performance, one that differentiates between his two screen personas with great subtlety.

Admittedly, Barocco is a very strange film, not just in concept but in that its mannered, romantic style and brief leap into borderline fantasy are somewhat at odds with the social realist milieu and political undertones. It is important to keep in mind that events unfold only superficially in the real world, but actually in the realm of cinema and include numerous references to classic movies, including a murder inside a train carriage evoking Jean Renoir’s La Bête Humaine (1938), dialogue lifted from Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar (1953), and the casting of Marie-France Pisier from the iconic Alain Robbe-Grillet thriller Trans-Europ-Express (1966) as a glamorous hooker. Pisier, whose scenes veer from dramatic with Adjani to tragicomic with Depardieu, is splendid and won a deserved Cesar award as best supporting actress.

Most significantly, Téchiné references the work of Alfred Hitchcock, a common touchstone for many French filmmakers given his influence upon the Nouvelle Vague. Not only does composer Philippe Sarde contribute a magnificent (Cesar award-winning) score reminiscent of the great Bernard Herrmann, but Adjani’s hands-flailing gesture during the death of Samson directly imitates Tippi Hedren in a scene from The Birds (1963). And of course, the core idea of the protagonist transforming someone into the recreation of their lost love is lifted from Vertigo (1958).

Events unfold in an intriguingly dreamy style that makes little sense of the conspiracy subplot and its sinister participants, but proves genuinely compelling. The cinematography by Bruno Nuytten was another divisive factor, but won the film its third Cesar award and is actually outstanding as his camera dollies hypnotically back and forth across the scope tableaux and weaves in magical moments like a musical interlude with Laure beguiled by a cabaret singer. Detractors assert the idea that a woman could fall for her boyfriend’s killer is absurd, even he does share the same face. Nevertheless Téchiné details the unlikely romance in believable fashion, cleverly showing how Laure discerns qualities both men share in common. Both are likeable losers, full of big dreams but haunted by the notion they are doomed to fail and ultimately duped by shadowy conspirators with murky motivations. Resurrection is another of the film’s key themes. As the guilt-ridden killer slowly morphs into Samson mk. II he grows into a kinder, gentler person so the romantic conclusion feels justified.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3988 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: