Monday, July 10, 2017

French Ballerina Vamps in a Haunted House, or Thoughts on Livide

One of the greatest strengths and inherent weaknesses of the film genre is that it’s essentially a visualized short story; you only have a hundred or so minutes to tell your tale, but you also get to use light and sound.  There’s an art in balancing plot, character and dialogue without sacrificing any of those elements, and the French vampire movie Livide (2011) is a great example of what you can do with a minimal cast and a spooky house.
In addition to the spooky house, there’s a bed-ridden, reclusive ballet teacher, vague rumors of a hidden treasure and three bored teens that decide to rob her.   However this being France, and the filmmakers from the brutal À l'intérieur (2007), the old lady isn’t as helpless as she seems.  I suppose an alternate title for this post could be Don’t Rob a Vampire’s House, but you would think these crazy French kids would know that by now.
Madame Jessel, the reclusive ballet teacher who lives in a house full of taxidermy animals, antique dolls and her vampire ballerina students fights off a home invasion from Lucie, Ben and William, who somehow come across as more sympathetic than Rocky, Alex and Money in Don’t Breathe (2016).  Maybe it’s the accents; it is a French movie, after all.
Written and directed by Alexandre Bustillo, and with a cameo from Béatrice Dalle, Betty from Betty Blue (1986) and Coré in Trouble Every Day  (2001), as Lucie’s mom.






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