Monday, May 08, 2006

Pig Sounds

Could you resist a Belgian/French movie with the tagline "Royston Vasey meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre"? No, nor could I. So I bought it and went home and watched it. End result: CALVAIRE (English title: ORDEAL) is the best film I've seen in a long time. I'm going to have to get a few more miles on it before I get a proper handle on it but at first view (to someone like me) it has so much.

A small time cabaret singer blows his engine in the sticks and goes for help to a local inn, the owner of which turns out (eventually) to be insane, driven that way by the loss of one "Gloria". From there, no summary would suffice. This film has that fragile, rare quality of being all over the place and yet holding it all together so well. It's weird like Lynch but linear, and tight plot-wise. Obviously writer/director Fabrice Du Welz is a big horror fan, because references to genre classics abound (most notably Texas Chainsaw Massacre - the whole dinner with Grandpa scene). But none of it jars or veers to the generic (OK, maybe the dinner with Grandpa scene just a little). The dreary backwoods setting of Southern Belgium is made for this kind of movie. Tim Burton couldn't have made it better with five years and 50 million dollars. Plus it contains that all-important ingredient in a backwoods horror movie: pig sounds. Lot of pig sounds, some of porcine origin, others not.

Just watch this movie. And prepare yourself for the music/dancing sequence.

Oh, and the director interview. One of the most entertaining I've come across. Fabrice Du Welz is so into his work, and manages to point out the fabric of the film without dispelling the mystery (as so many directors manage to). But why has he been involved with nothing since Calvaire? I want to see what else the guy can come up with.


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