Friday, June 24, 2016

Blood Soaked Beauty in Paris, or Thoughts on Béatrice Dalle in Trouble Every Day

Béatrice Dalle in Trouble Every Day (it’s not her blood)

Leave it to the French to make a stylish, darkly erotic vampire movie in the vein of The Hunger (1983) but with the Gallic ultra violence of Haute Tension (2003).  Director Clair Denis’ Trouble Every Day (2001, from the song by Frank Zappa, features the ageless Béatrice Dalle, who made her screen debut in Betty Blue (1986) as Coré, the voracious blood-fetish cannibal vampire.  She’s a vampire in the sense that serial killer Peter Kürten, The Vampire of Düsseldorf (1883-1931) was a vampire; vampirism in this quietly intense movie is a medical condition, an AIDS metaphor, the ultimate STD, and a supernatural premise firmly grounded in reality.  She’s imprisoned in an abandoned manor like a fairytale princess, but this doesn’t need rescuing.  She bites.
Despite being released in 2001, the movie has a 90’s hipster vibe, primarily from the deadpan casting of Vincent Gallo of Buffalo 66 (1998) as Dr. Shane Brown, on his honeymoon in Paris along with his wife June as played by then-girlfriend Tricia Vessey.  Shane seems to be suffering from the same condition as Coré, but he’s treating it with medication.
Atmospheric and dream-like in places, with a minimal plot that isn’t heavy on explanations, the movie relies on faith that the viewer will just watch and let the experience unfold.  The leisurely jazz soundtrack is both introspective and frustrating, but it succeeds in forcing you to slow down.  This isn’t an American movie designed for short attention spans and chock full of explosions, this is France, and your patience will be rewarded with some of the most ridiculously violent scenes of sexual carnage ever committed to screen.  Tongues are chewed off and throats are torn open, all in the name of an insatiable, barely explained hunger for sex, blood and human flesh.

Trouble Every Day belongs in the New French Extremity movement along with the aforementioned Haute Tension (2003) and Martyrs (2009), and you may find it difficult to watch, yet also at the same time obscenely beautiful.  It’s an art film masquerading as a horror movie.  Memories of the fragmented narrative will linger for days and make you question your commitment to cinema, but that’s what you get when you’re tricked into seeing a 90-minute painting.

my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.