« Starz Denver Film Festival 2014 - Viva la Liberta | Main | Starz Denver Film Festival 2014 - An Evening with Lawrence Jordan »

November 16, 2014

Starz Denver Film Festival 2014 - Alleluia

alleluia movie-poster.jpg

Fabrice du Welz - 2014
Music Box Films

Following Leonard Kastle, Arturo Ripstein and Todd Robinson, Fabrice du Welz takes a whack at the story of the Lonely Hearts Killers. The basic story is the same, about the seductive sleaze and the woman who first is his victim of a con, who then becomes his partner in crime. The story is updated and moved to contemporary France and Belgium.

What du Welz takes from the facts about Raymond Fernandez, renamed Michel in the film, is his obsession with some kind of black magic. Prior to getting involved with any women, an invocation is made to the elements for his success in luring the woman for his next con. There is also a greater emphasis on the head injury, with Michel being more psychologically and physically fragile than his cinematic predecessors.

What du Welz does, making this film a departure from the previous films, is the periodic detour from a straight forward narrative. This is most clear in a scene where Michel and Gloria, the Martha Beck proxy, engage in some kind of primal dance outside, by a fire. The jungle, real or as metaphor doesn't seem too far away in du Welz's films. In his previous film, Vinyan a couple search for their missing child in the jungles of Thailand, only to be abandoned to the elements, and a tribe of young boys. Jungle fantasies also are played out with a viewing of The African Queen, and Michel and Gloria posing as missionaries recently returned from a small church in Africa, under siege from rebels.

More than the earlier films about the "Lonely Hearts Killers", is the emphasis on the relationship between Michel and Gloria. One bit of irony has Gloria telling Michel to watch out for "bad people". Du Welz also has Gloria break out into song following the murder of the first victim, a scene that might recall Sweeney Todd, but with a grislier ending.

In an interview, du Welz discusses the actual events as a starting off point. What is of interest to du Welz, and what would be of interest to the viewer than, is how this repeated story is told. Some of the film comes close to what use to be called experimental filmmaking, providing a visual reference to the mental breakdown of both characters.

The final scene is a long shot of Michel and Gloria going to a movie theater. The dominant color in the shot is red. The two inquire as to whether the movie is a love story, presumably one that is does not frequently tilt towards Michel and Gloria's tendencies of self-destruction. The use of color might by visual tip of the hat to Arturo Ripstein's film about Beck and Fernandez, titled Deep Crimson. It may be a movie theater we see in the distance, but it looks like it could well be the entrance to hell.

Posted by peter at November 16, 2014 07:32 AM