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Where does reality end and fantasy begin? In the seedy neon-lit underworld of the Pigalle district of Paris, animalistic survival obscures all moral codes. Vera, portrayed by Vera Briole in an award-winning performance, is a peep show stripper who, along with her lover Fifi (Francis Renaud), becomes embroiled in a rivalry between two ruthless rival drug dealers. Director Karim Dridi's unflinching portrayal of this clandestine world, having been compared with the works of David Lynch and Martin Scorsese, is as dangerous as it is alluring.
You're reading this, so I assume you know something about this film. The previous reviewer spells some things out for you, plot wise, anyway.
The reason for my leaving this brief set of comments is to say: DON'T BUY THIS DVD. I don't know Koch Lorber, the DVD maker, is thinking, but the this DVD is pan and scan. So rather than glorious 1.85:1 widescreen, you get this zoomed in, muddy mess. It's not even been remastered, so often it's dark and you can't tell what's going on.
This film is about the location as much as anything else, so to lose that is awful. To add insult to injury, the trailer included as an extra IS in widescreen.... what's up with that, huh?
Koch also released Sister My Sister, another film they've butchered to 4:3.
I know you might want this because it's a decent film - but this DVD is a very poor presentation. Only buy if you're desperate - if you can wait, wait. I'm sure there's an overseas version that does it better....
PIGALLE has all the ingredients of a splendid little exposé of the infamous sector of crime in the City of Light. The problem is there is so little actual 'light' in the camera work that much of what happens in this film cannot be seen!
Pigalle is an area in Paris infamous for being an historic and a current zone of drug conclaves, prostitution (both male and female and every cross in between), peep show and strip clubs, junkies, thieves and murderers. In this mire swell all of the characters of this story. Divine (Blanca Li) is a transvestite performer in a club run by fellow transvestite Fernande (Raymond Gil) and Divine is in love with Fifi (Francis Renaud), a male street hustler and thief who in addition to his affair with Divine has an ongoing flirtation with Véra (Véra Briole), a woman who works as a stripper and peep show dancer but refuses to be a prostitute. Véra lives with her pimp Jésus le Gitan (Patrick Chauvel) whose primary occupation is drug dealing. Add to this smarmy group a large cast of deviates and druggies and hardcore criminals and you have the populace of Pigalle.
The story involves the murders of both Divine and Jésus: the drug lords 'convince' Véra to talk Fifi into being the hit man to revenge the killings. How all of this fits together - the consequences of betrayal and the desperate need for love that consumes each of the main characters - brings the tale to a grisly close.
This is a tale of survival in the amoral streets of Pigalle and writer/director Karim Dridi certainly knows how to create atmosphere commensurate with his story.Read more ›
Years ago I was lucky to have recorded this off of Cinemax. i absolutely loved the film, so i thought I would buy the dvd, hoping for even better quality. I was really disgusted to find that this dvd is heavily censored. in fact, a staggering FIFTEEN minutes of this beautiful film have been sloppily chopped out of the original product! how is this possible, and why would someone do this?? Anyway the cut film is almost unrecognizable from the original. so much has been removed that it is rendered indecipherable. not only controversial scenes are cut, but big scenes of character development are just gone. The brutal rape scene between Fifi and Vera is gone. some scenes with fifi and the little Arab kid are gone, including the purse snatching scene. The romantic scenes of fifi and the transexual divine have been removed, which means the viewer has no idea why fifi goes crazy after what happens to his lover! There are many other scenes, but i couldnt even finish watching. what was once a good film as been destroyed by some untalented idiot who decided that he was going to change a finished film. anyway the dvd is horrible, one of the worst products i have ever been tricked into buying. Avoid this like herpes! I have since transferred my cinemax recording onto a dvd and the picture quality is actually better than this release. and it is the full, 93 minute version, seemingly unavailable for purchase here or abroad! so I'm assuming my copy is pretty valuable. it is to me anyway..
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