Making a rare visit to Canada, Claude Chabrol cowrote and directed the low-pressure psychological melodrama Blood Relatives (Les Liens de sang). Donald Sutherland and Donald Pleasence head the cast in this story of the aftermath of a brutal murder. The victim, a 17-year-old girl, was apparently raped before she died, leading Carella (Sutherland) to believe that she was killed by a sex maniac. Pedophile Doniac (Pleasence) tops the suspect list, but don’t be too sure. The truth is much “closer to home” than anyone realizes at first. Lisa Langlois, who made something of a career of Canadian scare flicks, makes her screen debut in Blood Relatives; also appearing, is Chabrol’s wife Stephane Audran. Blood Relatives was based on a novel by Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter), of 87th Precinct fame; the film was released in the US in 1981, three years after its completion.
A wealthy heiress and landowner dies under mysterious circumstances (her husband did it, but don’t worry, he was done in too), and anyone with a minute claim to her property shows up to collect. The would-be heirs and heiresses start offing each other in increasingly creative and graphic ways, along with some dimwitted teenagers that stop by the bay looking for a party. Basically, it’s Ten Little Indians on the bay.
The gangs in the South Bronx (about 80 blocks from Tiffany’s in more ways than one) are handled with kid gloves in this one-hour treatment by Gary Weis. The more articulate members of the Savage Nomads and Savage Skulls are interviewed while the less articulate minorities who incongruously brandish swastikas are glossed over. Aside from gang members venting about “social injustice” and cops, there are interviews with the police, a priest, and some community workers. In general, the documentary indicates that this one small part of the U.S. would gladly be engaged in a mini-civil war if left to ferment on its own. Continue reading
Set in the Seventies, Hennessy is a Irishman who believes in peace, but who has had connections to the IRA. Hennessy’s family is killed, and he plots revenge, setting out to assassinate Queen Elizabeth of England. Continue reading
Even more so than The Orchid Gardener, this film anticipates Lars von Trier’s later work. The cross-wielding figure who emerges in the final shot before the end title in The Orchid Gardener appears here as “the Jew” who keeps the garden in the cloister where Menthe’s would-be mistress attempts to make her “remember” the things that they have lived together in a series of images that play with expectations about dominance. Continue reading
Lars von Trier submitted this film as part of his application to film school. Many of the aesthetic and thematic fetishes of his later feature length films (including the Dogme films and his more recent return to the ‘fantastic’ in Antichrist, Melancholia, and the forthcoming Nymph()maniac) are already evident here. The film, as its subtitle says, tells “part of the story of Victor Marse”, an artist (played by Lars himself). The only English language synopsis of this film that I’ve found is reproduced in this wiki and seems to be a poor translation of a summary written by a 12 year old. Consult it at your own peril! Continue reading
Doralice is a simple minded woman romantically fascinated by marriage. However, when she is raped by a butcher, a friend advises her to become a prostitute – and she does it. After that, all her wishes and longings will curl up into a fascinating vortex. Continue reading