Two noirs on passion
Posted by Solomon on 5/31/2018, 6:39 pm
1. The Hypnotized (2004) Korean
2. Szenvedély (1998) Hungarian
I've seen both, and both are strong noirs. #2 is in black and white in Bela Tarr style, slow but faster than his. It feels like it was made in the 60s. I watched a 121m version, down from 149-155m, so it had some jumps.
"In this black-and-white Hungarian version of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice (filmed four times previously), a wife (Ildiko Bansagi) and her lover (Janos Derzsi) plot to kill her older husband (Dzsoko Rozsics). This time the book's opening chapters have been dropped to have the tale begin with the drifter already employed by the old man. Cain's 1934 novel was first filmed in France by Pierre Chenal as Le Dernier Tournant (1939), followed by Luchino Visconti's neorealist classic Ossessione (1943) and the more familiar American adaptations by Tay Garnett (1946) and Bob Rafelson (1981). Passion won a half-dozen of the 1998 Hungarian Film Awards -- Best Film, Director, Actress, Actor (shared), Cinematography, plus the award selected by foreign critics. --Bhob Stewart, Rovi"
#1 Held my attention. Great style, art and beauty. Dream-like character.
"Hot wife suffers from a personality disorder. Sexually deprived husband philanders. Psychiatrist has the hots for the wife. When these worlds collide, you know you're in for mostly a B-grade steamy psychosexual thriller.
In Hypnotized, this idea takes an atypical route with a disjunctive narrative structure suffused with crafty stylistics.
Director Kim In-Shik seems more concerned in conjuring a Hitchcockian aura of dread, madness and mystery than logic. The end result is a terrifying psychological horror that quite remarkably mixes grotesque experimentalism with character pathos.
Kim is proving to be a notable director. His debut, Road Movie, was a tender buddy road movie that moved because of its subtleties and realism. Here, Kim goes a totally opposite direction by imbuing the story with piercing imagery and other loud fantastical elements like symbols.
The use of leitmotifs, e.g., reds, mirrors, the number '8' and fatalistic subplots, bring about a haunting sense of circularity. Like the recurrent symbolisms and incidents, the characters can't seem to get out of their maze of entanglements.
Hypnotized paints a demonic picture of love; love entraps and saps life. This suggestion is indeed frightening."
Re: Two noirs on passion
Posted by Don Malcolm on 6/1/2018, 5:42 pm, in reply to "Two noirs on passion"
Thanks, Mike. The NYT actually did review SZENVEDÉLY in 1999:
It was apparently released here under as (as you note in your subject line) "PASSION."
It also played at Cannes, and it turns out that Bela Tarr had a hand in the screenplay, which probably explains why it is a bit slow in Bela Tarr style. :-)
HYPNOTIZED (which has an intriguing alternate title of FACELESS BEAUTY) sounds like an art-noir along the thematic lines of CREPUSCULO (Bracho's psychosexual melo-noir from the mid-40s) brought up to date.
We do need a foreign neo-noir festival that features the more unusual, extreme, ambitious films in this area over the past, say, 20 years. Would you (and others) like to nominate more of these so that we might get a sense of what could be put together on that score?