Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Disturbing French Movies

One of the great qualities of cinema is its ability to disturb, to move you to the dark places in your soul. Some people will not find any value in this, and will actively shun such movies. Others, like myself, enjoyed being scared, being made uncomfortable, and left with sour bile in our gullets.

I like being disturbed. I search out these experiences in movies, and for some psychosocial reason, French directors have started to specialize in some of the more memorable ones.

Here's three that I saw recently over the course of a night.  Next morning, my senses had been bludgeoned into bloody submission, and I spent the whole day sipping hot milk and eating biscuits.

We start the film as a young woman menaces and kills a middle class French family with a shotgun (with bonus ludicrous gibs).  Her friend joins her at the end of the massacre, with the tense middle of the film involves the mother of the family who just won't die.  The final third of the film takes a left turn and becomes a completely different movie - a meditation on pain and suffering, with extreme scenes of brutal torture.


A pregnant woman gets terrorized by a hooded figure. The brutality comes from the violence and terror that's inflicted on not just a woman, but a PREGNANT woman.  Occasional cutaways shows the baby in the womb reacting to its mother's ordeal .  Again, it's a French film.


Again, another French film.  It's told in snippets in reverse. The camera constantly swoops and sways from side to side - it's extremely disorienting (but not in the crappy Michael Bay shaky-cam way). The soundtrack of the movie includes a low rumble that's designed to make you feel nauseous.

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