Sometimes the whole plot behind a movie can be so expedient, one cannot believe the actual result can be that freakishly striking. What to say if the beautiful, somewhat gothic minded Aki and eye patch-carrying Mathias are planning an orgy around midnight. With the help of Udo, their transvestite maid, four guests are invited to join this rather unorthodox party. One by one The Slut, The Stud, The Teen and The Star attending the festivity. Let the decadence commence… One would hope…
“Always follow the directions of your dreams, especially when they are frightening”, dixit Aki.
From start to finish, no one could expect the grim atmosphere this supposed-to-be orgy of the flesh breaths out. Never before we experienced, if I may add, a French mind trip that strikes so dearly to the very core of being. However all the necessary ingredients are present to explode in an erudite saturnalia, instead the spectator gets confronted with a transgender labyrinth of consciousness. Each male or female involved harbors their own life’s story, which finally morphs into a complex artistic pool of human poetry.
Despite the intentions of initiators Udo, (Nicolas Maury), Aki (Kate Morgan) and Matthias (Niels Schneider), all other characters – The Stud (played by has-been soccer icon Eric Cantona), The Slut (Julie Brémond), The Star (Fabienne Babe) and most suprisingly The Teen (played by Fabien Delon, son of Alain Delon) – transform the orgy into a psycho-analytic night-session that is marked by an overwhelming feel of avant-garde. Because of this deep experimental framework, we fear that this movie will not be for everyone. Which is without a doubt a shame, because all these hidden yearnings revealed some pretty unpredictable destinations of the mind. We can imagine you just loving, or au contraire simply hating this movie. One of the aspects that contributes to this whole strange setting of mood is the exquisite decor, designed by Sidney Dubois, that provides an unmistakably firm visual palette of soberness, yet also a kind of weirdness when a painted sunset is used as a studio backdrop. And there’s more. For instance the jukebox plays music that reacts to the listener’s own feelings. (Yes, we want one.) Depending on the mood swings of the moment, the French band M83 – where Yann Gonzalez himself and brother Anthony Gonzalez are members of – delivers electronic music ranges in style from the works of Vangelis to Daft punk. Also the fact that this movie was shot on 35mm speaks for Gonzalez his keen eye for Simon Beaufils‘ cinematographic pearls before swines, if you will.
The characters all live their own fantasies, but on a level so intense that it’s generally speaking not suitable for daylight matters. Both guests aand instigators demand to be treated as their reputation dictates. Partly they are simply doomed for dark encounters. And by dark, we mean dark. Gonzalez offers an exquisite trip on the Freudian spiral of mental decay. Despite the original porn-like set-up, sexy could not be further away. Sure, some hilarious moments are provided by, for instance, both the Slut and The Stud, but the real treasure is to be found on the intersection where self-inflicted desire meets gothic-spirited netherworld, meaning nothing less than entering the true catacombs of one’s brain. The establishment of an area of illusive freedom, Dionysian self esteem or even surrealistic justice hovers at the interface between the constituent elements of personal sovereignty. It’s not surprising that moral, too, has been affected by this violent ethos.
To paraphrase Sartre: “l’existence précède l’essence”. ‘Existence precedes essence’, and it feels like this astonishing optical existentialism is given life by means of Gonzalez his utterly versatile characters. And truth be told, they do it with verve.
Trailer on YouTube.