The opening sequence of French writer/director Yann Gonzalez debut feature starts with confusion that never really eases up through this avant-garde art-house film. ★
Ali and her young handsome beau Mathias (who may or may not be a zombie) are waiting with their transvestite maid Udo for their invited guests to arrive for an orgy. They include The Slut, The Teen, The Star and The Slut and before the proceedings can begin each of this group of misfits shares a potted version of their life story.
It’s an excuse for some lengthy monologues on life, love, death and sex. Actually they are mainly about sex. As eloquent as this talented band of actors try to make them, they nonetheless fluctuate between being tedious and pretentious. Often they are both. For a group on the brink of an orgy, it is surprisingly a completely un-erotic experience. The only thing remotely sexual is the sight of The Stud’s monster penis, but sadly that is not the real thing either.
Gonzalez has assembled a great cast for this project including Xavier Dolan’s favorite actor Niels Schneider, plus Fabienne Babe, Kate Moran, Alain Deloin’s youngest son (and spitting image of his dad) Alain-Fabien Delon and ex footballer Eric Cantona. However poor Eric who got to show off his giant prosthetic attachment had this bemused look on his face throughout the whole proceedings as if he was really unaware of what he had got himself into. Mr Gonzales did have the benefit of tapping up his older brother who is part of M83 so it at least had a great electro-score for the soundtrack.
The danger with experimental cinema is that there is a fine line between succeeding and not, and maybe with a more experienced pair of hands steering this odd piece, the result would have been more better. It certainly would have benefitted from input from someone with a sense of humor. ‘Variety’ Magazine reported that when the movie debuted at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year it started with a standing room only crowd, but by halfway 95% of the audience had left.
Let’s hope for Mr Gonzalez’s sake it fares better when it opens in UK cinemas shortly.