Blind Beast

Blind Beast (Mōjū) (1969)

Blind Beast (Mōjū) first published by Little White Lies, as the 134th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column “My name is Aki Shima,” Aki (Mako Midori) says in voiceover at the beginning of Blind Beast (Mōjū). “I was never very popular as a fashion model.” This narration is accompanied by black-and-white images of Aki taken…

Samuel's Travels

Samuel’s Travels (aka Squeal) (2021)

Samuel’s Travels (aka Squeal) opens with a confusion of signals. The credits handwritten on parchment in inked calligraphy, and the jaunty grace of the accompanying Minuet from Handel’s Water Music Suite No.1 in F Major, combine to suggest a couple’s choreography, told in a classical, literary mode – which is not an unfair description of…

Red Latex

Red Latex (Látex rojo) (2020)

“Slave!” is the first word uttered in writer/director Gerard Marcó de Mas’ feature debut Red Latex (Látex rojo). The speaker is Mistress Gise (Fedra Duarte), summoning her servant/apprentice/lover Julia (Valeria Rowiniski) to suck her toes and go through her schedule – but the dominatrix’s word is also programmatic, introducing us to the film’s key theme….

Cruising

Cruising (1980)

Cruising first published by Little White Lies, as the 86th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Police patrolmen DiSimone (Joe Spinell) and Desher (Mike Starr) cruise in their radio car through Brooklyn’s Meatpacking district, notorious for its nocturnal nightclubs and BDSM scene. “They’re all scumbags,” says Desher as he surveys the streets filled with leather-clad…

Romance

Romance (1999)

Romance first published by Little White Lies, as the 84th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column Romance is a genre. It is that branch of erotic fiction typically filling the gaping crack between love and sex, fantasy and reality, and ultimately marrying its lead couple to a happy ending. So writer/director Catherine Breillat’s choice of…

Demonlover

Demonlover (2002)

Demonlover first published by Little White Lies, as the 81st entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column In the cutthroat world of business, Diane de Monx (Connie Nielsen) is in control. We see her, in the opening scene of Olivier Assayas’ Demonlover,  seated in first class on a plane besides Henri-Pierre Volf (Jean-Baptiste Malartre), the CEO…

Pants

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019)

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (Koirat eivät käytä housuja) first published (in a shorter version) by Sight & Sound, April 2020 Review: In the grand tradition of psychological dramas, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (Koirat eivät käytä housuja) opens with a primal scene: in trying to rescue his already dead wife (Ester Gieslerová) who, while out swimming,…

Secretary

Secretary (2002)

Secretary (2002) first published by Movie Gazette In the typical romantic comedy, a woman meets her ideal man, and after being separated from him by a range of comic trials, eventually marries him, with the prospect of happiness for ever after. So Steven Shainberg‘s directorial debut Secretary belongs to the same genre as, say, The…

Bettie

The Notorious Bettie Page (2006)

The Notorious Bettie Page first published (in a slightly different version) by musicOMH Times Square, 1955. A shifty looking fellow casts his eye over shelves of ‘glamour’ magazines before working up the courage to ask the shopkeeper if beneath the counter there is something a little different, “with unusual material that shows restraint”. No sooner…

Piercing

Piercing (2018)

Piercing first published by Sight & Sound, April 2019 Review: Takashi Miike’s astonishing Audition (1999), adapted from the 1997 novel of Ryu Murakami, helped introduce Western audiences to both J-horror and ‘torture porn’, without ever really sitting easily in either of those categories. Now Piercing, adapted from the homonymous 1994 novel by Murakami, similarly gouges…