Fittingly, a film about voyeurism contains cinema’s first cameltoe.
Controversial British movie about a man who murders women and films their final moments. It bears some superficial similarities to the 1979 film Bloodline, but is far more successful. Though billed as a horror movie, it isn’t scary as such; it’s more creepy and psychologically disturbing. Its real strength lies in its ideas, its willingness to wallow in depravity (reminding me of David Fincher’s Se7en in that regard), and the utterly unpleasant lead performance from Carl Boehm. Some aspects are a touch simplistic (e.g. the Freudian stuff), but it all hangs together fairly well.
It’s easy to see why it would have caused such an uproar when first released, not only for its plot and subject matter, but for the matter-of-fact way in which the seediest parts of British society are depicted. The interpretation advanced by some critics that the whole film is a comment on horror filmmaking, and the voyeuristic position of the audiences of such films, is viable and intriguing. Recommended.
Presumably this cat-on-the-head costume was the main reason the film won an Academy Award for Costume Design.
My first experience of Fellini was simultaneously baffling and intriguing. I’ll admit I may not have fully understood what he was trying to say, and I can’t claim to have wholeheartedly enjoyed it – in fact at times it felt like the cinematic equivalent of eating my greens – but it certainly held my attention, and I’ve thought about it often since watching it. Marcello Mastroianni is perfect in the lead role, conveying (often at the same time) sadness, hope, charisma and, most importantly, deep disaffection with his society. Many of the supporting players are also excellent, especially Anita Ekberg and Alain Cuny. Some sequences seem superfluous or overlong, but it’s all put together so precisely that it’s clear they’re all necessary – even if their purposes weren’t immediately apparent to me. Others, such as the famous fountain scene and everything involving Steiner, are both powerful and memorable. It hasn’t turned me into a massive Fellini fan but I’m very glad I watched it.