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An English historian living in Morocco is searching for some mythical lost paintings. His quest leads him into the ancient Arabic quarter of the city. There he sees a beautiful blonde woman in a white veil. He becomes obsessed with finding her, but discovers that she may already be dead.
His Moroccan mistress, Belkis, appears to be encouraging his obsessions, but it soon transpires that she may be trapping him in a dark and dangerous labyrinth of desire, from which death may be the only escape.
This was the last work from the acclaimed and award winning filmmaker and is an exotic, erotic mystery story which deals with some of the most profound issues of the human heart. Packed with controversial and astonishing imagery, it's an intriguing and complex work of art that is a fitting tribute to a master of world cinema.
Mondo Macabro s DVD presents a gorgeous 1.85:1 widescreen transfer --Twitch
Top Customer Reviews
I didn't understand this film before reading the info in the special features. There are many erotic BDSM scenes with attractive actresses. On its face, the film might appear to be exploitative and gratuitously sado-masochistic.
However, on reading the commentary by the director (Allain Robbe-Grillet), the film came into focus as an art film exploring the deep taboos of our unconscious.
It is a film with a long history of predecessors in French cinema. Grillet (died in 2008) is a noted French author and director. Little known is that his wife, Catherine Robbe-Grillet, was also an esteemed author of French sado-masochistic literature. Under the name of Jean de Berg, she authored a book in the 1960's entitled: "The Image." It was quickly made into a French sado-erotic film. The Image ("The Punishment of Anne") The film was directed by the art-house pioneer Radly Metzger. Metzger, an American Veteran of war film documentaries for the Army, was making tasteful Therese and Isabelle art films about alternate sexuality in the 1950's and 1960's. The Radley Metzger Collection, Vol. 1 (Therese and Isabelle / The Alley Cats / Camille 2000); ...Read more ›
If you have not had much familiarity with alternative sexuality the nudity and theatrical S&M might turn you on and you will overlook the blemishes and think it was erotic. There are lots of unrealistically perky breasts and a few displays of whippings, some blood, etc. Wow? -- God bless you and enjoy.
But really it is about dreaming. It is one of the most extensive EFFORTS to deal with shifting scenes and paradoxes in dreaming that I have seen. I would give it an A for effort. To help you along, there are discussions of dreams within the dream about dreaming itself that are almost pedantic tutorials on dreaming. I did not find this distracting at all because I find in my own dreams that I can have discussions about dreaming as I try to figure out if I am dreaming or awake. So actually I liked this.
Also I felt that the setting of Marrakech really contributed to the dreaminess of the film. Grade of A on this important detail.
On the other hand the dream angle allowed the director to get away with a lot that I felt made the film seem tedious and even amateurish at times. Like, so many of the breasts looked injected and unrealistic and made it seem almost like a porn film. But one could argue in defense, "Oh well that was to make it look more like a dream." Hmmm. Anyway other aspects of direction also seemed more like a porn film than serious film-making.
The acting often was also pretty theatrical or stilted in the sense of just not good. Again, one could say, well that was to make it seem more like a dream. But from my own dreams and from reading and talking, behavior in dreams is realistic but strange in not such affected ways.Read more ›
Europe or Japan? -- 5 stars. The U.S.? -- it gets a BlackBall.
Now, beyond the above, is it a good movie? Premise, acting (which is European), interesting, challenging, and that magnificent Marrakech setting (in another world, as the movie would say), all get at least 4 stars and probably 5. (But -- in my book -- even though I've done some bedroom-level kink I would NEVER show a friend the kinds of sexual atrocities shown within.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
French director Alain-Robbe Grillet's film "Gradiva" has been released by the Mondo Macabro DVD group and it is another excellent example of the unusual international cinema that... Read morePublished on May 27, 2011 by Ramm
Gradiva is the name of an actual art object, a well preserved Roman bas relief fragment, and means "the woman who walks. Read morePublished on November 3, 2009 by J. Faulk
Sure, Dani Verissimo is too cute but this movie's garbled "plot" is not worth explaining. Overacting is mainly the American character's duty, to make American viewers more... Read morePublished on November 3, 2009 by W. Kennedy
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