A closer look at the pornography of existence

Monday, January 19, 2009

La convergence des médias

...n'a rien à voir avec mon long silence.

C'est plutôt la somme de mes activités qui s'est précipitée dans un long corridor qui rapetissait de plus en plus, de sorte que mes activités ont dû se serrer les coudes pour le traverser en entier, et se sont retrouvées fusionnées en bout de parcours.

Je ne fais plus de pige, je concentre mes énergies dans un seul magazine (vous savez lequel si vous êtes encore ici), et je vivote tranquilement. De retour dans le Centre-Sud pour une période indéterminée.

J'ai un plan, j'ai des croquis, j'ai des maquettes imaginaires d'aventures fantasmées.

Il ne reste plus qu'à tout coucher sur cathode.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Very Loud, Thank You

Moving like a very fast train, my life flashes by like a lightning bolt. Straight through my heart. Without passing GO and cashing in a paycheck. Summer's over but it's still sticky as hell outside. Every morning I do my cardio, biking to work as fast as I can and getting here all sweaty. Montreal's notorious bad drivers do nothing to keep my stress level down. I'm extremely vulnerable on the road. A sculpture of flesh, bones and nerves that could be shattered any minute by steel and fiber. Asphalt, cement and imprevisibility are my worst ennemies. My body is a prison, and a weak one at that.

During the past few weeks I have done many things. I have watched horror movies. I have seen Nacho Cerda's THE ABANDONNED, a movie that has been written by montrealer Karim Hussain and that takes place in the middle of a never-ending Russian forest. I've also seen DISTURBIA, a teen take on Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW, and I am supposed to write a review for CONTAMINATION. I don't know what's happening to me, though; I feel as if writing about movies is now something useless. The most important gesture in cinema is to WATCH / SEE a movie, not endlessly discourse about it for the improbable benefit of people who have yet to see it. The experience is personal, and the interpretation shouldn't be shared, or should only be with people you care about. Being a critic is somewhat of a puzzle - you make a living by emitting an opinion on someone else's work, on someone else's vision and sweat.

I have also seen VACANCY, a neat little flick about a snuff producin' hotel manager and the people he traps. While it didn't have the depth of a movie like Alejandro Amenabar's THESIS, it didn't sink as low as Joel Schumacher's 8 MM. The faceless men invading hotel rooms and killing its occupants in front of multiple hidden cameras is a cultural psychosis, somewhat of a modern legend, but it was pulled off expertly, and kept me at the edge of my seat.

The same can be said about Rob Zombie's remake of John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN, a flick I saw on Monday night in a nearly deserted Scotia Bank Theater. Miss Bijoux & me sat in the dark with four other persons, in a gigantic room, and enjoyed Zombie's touch applied to an old classic. Interestingly enough, the movie featured Sid Haigh and Udo Kier, and I never saw them pass by. Macolm McDowell's Dr. Loomis is a credible one, almost making us forget Donald Pleasance's original performance. Michael Mayers is one big motherfucker, too. With the childhood sequences, one can better understand where he's coming from and why he's so troubled. Having a mom as delicious as Sherry Moon Zombie would have made me more of a sex maniac than a homicidal loonie, but what the hell. I left the theater puzzled by the few critics who had given the movie a bad review.


I have a confession to make : I've started watching the SOPRANOS a few months ago and I'm completely obsessed. I'm currently watching the end of the first part of the sixth season, and I'm traumatized by the thought of having to wait until the end of October before the final season gets released on home DVD. I'm afraid I won't make it. I caught a mean-ass virus a few weeks ago, that kept me in the bed from Wednesday night to Sunday morning, and in the middle of piercing headaches and a delirious, never-ending fever, I dreamt about Tony Soprano. Constantly. But that might be due to the seven episodes marathon I watched before going to bed.


Last Saturday, while I was in Ottawa to help Miss Bijoux sell her craft at the Ladyfest, my good pal Jason Pelletier invited me to play at his new night at OZ Kafe. It's a lovely establishment located on Elgin St, not too far from Freehouse Lounge where I played last time I was in town. Oz is the owner, a friendly lady who concocts terrific cocktails. While mixing, I had a pear-flavoured cocktail, an Amaretto Sour, a Lychee Martini, a Jagermeister shot, a Mai Tai and a Manhattan. It all went down real well and contributed to the harmonious flow of my beats.

The following day, before heading back to Montreal, we had breakfast at Empire, on the Market. We walked the streets, in no particular hurry, enjoying the gorgeous weather. We headed back in town and arrived around 5, took back the rental car to its Stanley St. hideout, and ate delicious pastas at McGill College's Boccacino's. We wanted to catch the end of what would be our last Piknic of the year, with the Archipel DJs making a killing, but got out of the restaurant so late that we decided to head home.

I have so many things to do all week that I don't really give a fuck anymore. There's no void in my life I need to fill by going out all the time. I'll party when I feel like it, if there's something really special going on, if there's a guest I like and never heard live before... but not because I don't know what to do with my evenings. There are so many things I have yet to learn, so many books to read and movies to see... so many precious people in my life I barely see and spend time with because I'm so busy all the time.

Take a step back. Evaluate what counts the most. WHO counts the most. Then, do only that, with only those people. Life's too short to deal with all that phony crap and these idiotic morons anyway.

Don't look for me over this orgiastic week-end filled with promises : I'll be in Toronto, chillin' at the Clothing Show with self-obsessed fashionistas and short-memoired hipsters. I'll do my best to come back with the most troubling t-shirts and belt buckles I'll find. We'll listen to rebel country and soothing folk music in the car, and the road will be filled with stretches of forest, offering us their lively fall colours, and one last breath of fantasy before winter sets in and turns everything as white as despair.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Colère Ensoleillée

Plusieurs de mes collègues de travail me font part de leur fine analyse de mon comportement, de façon tout à fait intermitente. Et quelques-uns d'entre eux s'accordent pour dire que depuis mon retour de voyage, je suis beaucoup plus "zen". Une colère sourde envers la connerie humaine gronde toujours en moi, mais je l'extériorise beaucoup moins. Ma patience a atteint un nouveau plateau. Je ne sais pas si tout ça est authentique, mais c'est du nouveau pour moi. Car on a toujours vertement critiqué mes opinions arrêtées et mon peu de tolérance envers les faiblesses d'autrui. Sans être impitoyable, j'en attends beaucoup de mes confrères humains.

Et c'est tout à fait normal ! Je ne crois pas que la planète survivrait si on se fiait seulement à la masse de bovins apathiques constituée par "l'homme moyen". Sans jouer les professeurs insistants, je suis ébahi lorsque je retrouve des journaux ou divers papiers dans la poubelle de mes voisins de cubicule, et je ne me gêne pas pour leur faire savoir. Toute conversation portant sur une émission de télé-réalité m'irrite. Je ne veux pas gouverner les choix culturels de mes proches, mais je leur souhaite beaucoup de bien, et ça me fait donc un peu de peine de les voir se polluer eux-même l'esprit avec de telles fadaises.

Je me lève toujours de bonne humeur; c'est ma journée et les gens que j'y rencontre qui détruisent peu à peu mon optimisme. L'impossibilité de jouir de toute quiétude me dépasse - il y a toujours une voix qui retentit quelque part, toujours quelqu'un qui se trouve intéressant et qui raconte sa vie, ou qui éprouve un tel besoin d'attention qu'il interpelle tout ce qui bouge et qui ressemble vaguement à un être humain.

Je suis conscient, de façon douloureusement aïgue, que le temps file et que les accomplissements que je vise à atteindre sont dangereusement menacés par ces intrusions. Je ne sais pas à quel niveau ma concentration est affectée, ni à quel point ma créativité se trouve amochée par la moindre interruption, mais je me doute que le prix à payer pour côtoyer mes collègues est fort élevé. Bien entendu, je vis sur une planète qu'il me faut partager, mais ai-je au moins le droit de choisir avec qui ?

J'ai appris, au fil des ans, à évacuer ma colère à mesure qu'elle s'accumulait, pour éviter toute accumulation pouvant mener à une explosion. De toute façon, comment rester fâché devant une splendeur telle que le "Pacific Highway" que j'ai récemment emprunté en compagnie de Mr. Finances ?

Cette route, que nous avons décidé de prendre en revenant bredouilles d'une tentative de visite du Hearst Castle, serpente jusqu'à San Francisco sur deux voies effrayantes, à flanc de montagne, où les garde-fous sont rares. Sur notre droite, une paroi montagneuse impénétrable, et sur notre gauche un ravin menant droit dans les houleuses vagues du Pacifique qui s'écrasent sur les rochers. Ajoutez à tout cela le nouvel album de Swayzak, un coucher de soleil resplendissant et un souper de pizza gourmet à Big Sur, servi par une sosie de Nelly Furtado affublée d'obus 36D, et ça ressemble presque au bonheur.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Return of Bruno

I know many weeks have passed, months even, since I last updated this blog. Let's not linger on that and concentrate on the present. I'm not lazy - just busy. I just came back from three weeks off in a row and I must say it's quite painful to be returning to work after all that happened. In the course of my multiple journeys, I forgot how idiotic and tenuous customer service can get, and how supremely annoying my co-workers could be. It might be the blandness of my workdays, but I feel like everyday is the same here, and the voices just keep on getting louder, making it impossible for me to concentrate on anything. My focus has been steadily destroyed by the calls I get at the most awkward moments, for example as soon as I put food in my mouth. The fact that I cannot decide not to answer has a lot to do with the numerous headaches I suffer from. A call comes in, and whatever the fuck I'm doing at that precise moment, I have to take it.

I might have been slow to react, culturally, to many things lately. That fact can be explained by another fine corporate reaction at my workplace. One month ago, before leaving for my three weeks holiday, a supervisor with nothing better to do came to my desk while I was on break and shuffled through my computer. He discovered that I had lots of unrelated website pages opened and that I was concentrating on anything BUT my work - which is so fuckin' true it hurts, considering the extremely low level of emotional implication I feel for my job. I was then prohibited to go online.

Going online, though, is pretty much the only reason I'm staying in this shit hole. The work is not involving, the customers are more often than not retarded, and the paycheck is pityful. I don't have any insurances even if I've been here for almost four years now (ouch) so the only explanation why I stayed here so long is that I was always able to work on my "side projects" while being paid to pretend working. But since that utopia is no longer, I have to say the envy of quitting is stronger every day.

But enough about work already - living it is no fun, so I can imagine how reading about it feels like.


Before narrating my trip in all its juicy details, something I've been meaning to do for a while, we have to talk about the third (yes, third !) remake of Don Siegel's INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, opening this week and starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Any thoughts on why this story keeps on being remade ? Ferrara's version seemed quite fine, no ?


There has been something boiling in my veins since I came back from California. An interest in anything foreign. A true desire not to spend too many time in a city I already know too much. Whenever I hear about somebody going away for a while, jealousy arises. I wish it was me. I wish I had the balls to throw everything away and start anew somewhere else, or just become a traveling monkey that doesn't care about materialism.

The only problem is... I don't have an inch of an hippie soul. I'm all for peace and love - but you're never gonna see me in overalls, hitch-hiking towards BC.

I like my confort too much. Wish I could spend the next 100 days buried under an ocean of pillow, watching movies and reading. Ordering books and DVDs from Amazon.ca and not answering the phone. Stealing music from the internet and letting my inner autism take more and more space in my life. Sending hand-written letters to those that matter for me. Letting the superficiality of Montreal's nightlife slide on my back like rain.

I have decided to eliminate compromise from my life. If something doesn't look fun and / or doesn't pay well enough, I'm not doing it. I'm not doing any more favors to people I barely know just so they think I'm a nice guy. Why should I give a fuck ? Do they ? Nice people are notorious for being taken advantage of. That's my everyday burden. Being nice, wanting to please, hoping everybody will like me. What kind of weakness is that ? Wouldn't it be nice if everybody was like me ? Of course. But that's not gonna happen. because there will always be parasites, bloodsuckers finding a way to exploit your sweet spot.

When I was younger, I was on the lookout for weird albums. I knew some of my favourite actors were also musicians, and I seeked out their recordings. My girlfriend, in 1996, bought a very expensive imported CD of the collected "hits" of John Travolta. No kidding. It set her back about 30$, which represented way more than you might think for a 18 years old girl with no job. I also knew Bruce Willis had recorded a mythical pop-ish blues album, "The Return of Bruno". I never could put my hands on it, unfortunately. And now that the golden age of internet would normally allow me to find it in a few minutes and download it at absolutely no cost through a peer 2 peer program, the interest is gone. What's left of it is an impression, a vague and out of focus memory - that will never be corrected. My desire is gone, and has been replaced by another.

And so the wheel turns.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Exhaustion Ahead

I sometimes spend my days sleepwalking through life, not entirely awake. That happens mostly when I've had very little to no sleep at all, or what is commonly called in a few exclusive circles as the "no sleep 'til Brooklyn" phenomenon. With Mutek starting tonight and the ignition of 72 hours in a row without sleep set to begin tomorrow morning, I can already feel the pain. I'm no longer 20 years old, and will in fact be 30 in less than a year. But I must insist : I like to party very much, thank you.

Tomorrow, while most people will slowly prepare for their happy hour, or mentally spend all their pay check in expensive Italian ties bought at Carrefour Laval, I'll be writing several articles that have long been due. The deadlines are here, folks, and it's time to pay them bills. Knock knock, who's there ? "A deadline". I've never been good with these things, but since I began gettin' paid by the word, I magically respect every time frame my editors are giving me. There's been this safari movies article floating around my head, and that's about the only thing I haven't done and for which I'm REALLY late. My public apologies go out to Mike White, editor in chief of Cashiers du Cinemart, as well as to the magnificent chimpanzee appearing in both Michele Lupo's AFRICA EXPRESS and Duccio Tessari's SAFARI EXPRESS (both from 1976).

My assignments for Contamination are going well; I just put my hands on the DVDs of THE THIRST and Howard Avedis' very promising THEY'RE PLAYING WITH FIRE re-release, and I have to see CAPTIVITY pretty soon. I have interviewed Bender for the upcoming issue of Nightlife Magazine and have three other pieces to write.

Over the week-end, I'll be writin' and partyin'; on my schedule of artists to hear are, in chronological order, Magda & Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, Mossa, Gamall, My My, Chic Miniature, Claude VonStroke, Audion, Miskate, Someone Else, Gui Boratto, Michael Mayer, Heartthrob, Jesse Somfay, and the Wighnomy Brothers. I might very well drop dead after this breath taking marathon, but one thing's for sure : it'll be pure ear candy !

So if you walk past me on Sunday at Piknic, don't be surprised if I'm all zombie-like and don't even look at you; my brain most probably will be at "off". I remember going to DiskHo's Matthew Dear party last year, on a Friday night, and leaving just to pop a On*Star and head over to Aria to hear Felix da Housecat. I didn't sleep all night or day, had a great meal at La Caretta on St-Zotique, and then went to a house party above Inbeat on St-Laurent on Saturday night to play a set at 2 AM, after drinking TONS of vodka / Guru. The police crashed the party at 3 but I couldn't be bothered; the guy owning the flat reduced the music's volume to a minimum, and I kept on playing like a madman. My first real night of sleep after that was on Monday night, after an orgy of sushis.

I ain't feeling like a million bucks right now and I could use a few days of rest, but I'm afraid that won't be possible. We'll just have to keep up with what we have and party like there's no tomorrow ! The recipe for that is to avoid sleeping, to make your week-end seem like an uninterrupted Friday night binge. Brilliant.


Since Bud Spencer, alias Carlo Pedersoli, is a likable guy, I quite like him. I believe there's enough misery in this world without seeing the need for people to be rude on top of it all. That's why I rather like people who are in a good mood, or "good guys". And girls. The use of the masculine form everywhere on this blog is, of course, for convenience & speed purposes only.

My love for Spencer, for Italian cinema at large - and for Enzo Girolami Castellari's work in particular - made me seek out an episode of the "Extralarge" series, these hard-to-find TV movies shot in Miami between 1991 and 1993. Thirteen were made, and the one I've seen is called EXTRALARGE : BLACK & WHITE. In them, Bud plays Jack "Extralarge" Costello, a Miami private eye pretty much ressembling any role he's ever played : not very fast, but big, and with a heart of gold. He has a latina neighbor, in his Art Deco building, who happens to be his girlfriend, and many friends in the Miami Police Department.

From then on, anything is possible. In BLACK & WHITE - which I strongly believe to be the pilot, or at least the first in the series - it starts with a kleptomaniac ("Wendy", played by knockout Lela Rochon) inviting herself to a senator's garden party, and posing as a maid to infiltrate the rooms and steal stuff. However, she ends up fleeing with something very precious to the senator, and he sends his men after her with one mission : to kill her and come back with the stolen goods. While running away from them, she stumbles upon Costello's office, and decides to seek out his help. Meanwhile, good old Jack's met Dumas (Phillip Michael Thomas, found jobless and aimlessly wandering the streets of Miami by the producers), a French cartoonist interested by his physique, and has tied him up in the bathroom. The "Black & White" of the title implies, of course, that they'll team up to help save the girl, and that all things will come to an end without too much bloodshed.

But keep in mind : it's an italian TV movie; people die, people cry, and most stay clothed. Bad guys and corrupt politicians are more than common in this shark-infested city, and we can feel a bit of Enzo's love for MIAMI VICE here and there. However, everything seems cheaper than in the hit Michael Mann-produced TV series, and the running time is undoubtedly longer. The cars aren't as slick, and the wardrobes neither. The theme song, surprisingly, is an entertaining hip house hit that's very pleasant to hear. Played over the opening credits featuring sea-doo daredevils in traditional Castellari slow-motion shots, it has a certain effect.

What's also a nice surprise here is that old Bud's own voice is used in the final sound track; no silly dubbing is to be heard anywhere, which probably means that the whole production was shot directly in english. Which is a funny phenomenon; with all the late 80's Corbucci-shot movies Spencer & Hill did in Miami, and this Extralarge franchise, lots of people are still surprised to learn nowadays that Carlo Pedersoli, the irresistible bearded fatso, is not an American.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Wolves, Magicians, and Coincidences

I first became aware of Hugh Jackman's existence when I brought my mom out to see X-MEN in 2000. Back then, he was only beginning to blow out. His portrayal of Wolverine was wonderful, and the fact that he drank Labatt '50 in the movie only added to my excitement when I visited Ste. Catherine street's Vieille 300 and ordered the same thing to my man Mathieu. I have lately been exposed to him twice, surprisingly. First off in THE PRESTIGE, the latest Christopher Nolan flick, also one of the two "magicians" flick released in a few months - the other one being Neil Burger's THE ILLUSIONIST.

THE PRESTIGE proposes a story of friendship, deceit and revenge. A story that might have been childish and unbelievable had it been directed by someone else than Nolan. It's the story of two magician friends, Robert Angier (Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), who learn the ropes together from "Cutter" (Michael Caine), a guy building various tricks & machines. However, their friendship will not last, following a tragic incident causing the death of Angier's wife, and they'll spend the rest of their existence fighting & competing with each other. Like kids, really.

What saves the day here is Nolan's lush cinematography, some welcome surnatural elements, and the deconstructed narrative, happening on different time levels all at once, giving us the key to understand it all at the very end. And the surprise awaiting is equivalent to a M. Night Shyamalan ending, offering an explanation that not too many acute observers could have predicted. The presence of David Bowie as Tesla, a misunderstood electrical genius shadowed by Thomas Edison's monopolistic brutes, is also candy for the eyes. Because yes, huh, I might not have mentioned it, but the action takes place at the turn of the 19th century. Nice period recreation, too. The excitement brought by the magical tricks performed and the inventiveness of these magicians' craft are all very fascinating. There's a few interesting women in there, but they're mainly accessories; Piper Perabo & Scarlett Johansson are both there as two-dimensional love interests, it would seem.

It would also seem that Woody Allen's SCOOP (also from 2006) shares a lot of similarities with THE PRESTIGE. Other than two key players among its casting, that is; Jackman & Johansson appear once again. It's a murder mystery with no edge, taken very lightly, with a once again ridiculous and neurotic Allen appearing, this time as the obsessive-compulsive and hilarious magician Splendini. Johansson is an American journalism student who's given a scoop by the ghost of a dead reporter when she's put in a "dematerialising" box during one of Splendini's shows. The scoop ? That the young and handsome Peter Lyman (Jackman), a lord's son, might be the "Tarot Card Killer" responsible for a series of prostitute killings, Jack the Ripper-style. Johansson will manage to track him down, meet him, and have him fall in love with her without much effort. And when the attraction is shared, she begins to doubt her late reporter's scoop. Splendini, posing as her father, will help her clear things up.

SCOOP features a very funny concept of dead people "cheating death", and appearing among the living to casually discuss their obsessions. It's a very Allen-esque idea, one he already explored in EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU in 1996, during the scene in which the dead rise to dance at the funeral parlor. You might want to argue that old Woody has his good and bad years, but the fact is that even his bad years are better than most filmmaker's good ones. Writing and directing one feature length movie a year must be extremely tiring, and yet Allen never slows down, and has been steadily churning them out since 1982, after a short break in '81 between STARDUST MEMORIES and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SEX COMEDY.

You have to appreciate his two latest movies shot in London, a place that seems to have given him a new creative start. I'm sure that the well rounded Scarlett has a big part to play in all this - who wouldn't be inspired by her curves and incredible lips ? Jackman is a handsome upper-class bloke here, easily seducing everybody he comes in contact with, and very far from the hairy and savage Wolverine he plays in the X-Men franchise.

Speaking of which, WOLVERINE is coming in 2008, and Jackman will reprise his role in a movie written by David Benioff (Spike Lee's THE 25TH HOUR) and inspired by the "Weapon X" comic book series published by Marvel. Promising !

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Une Remarquable Carence de Tolérance

Le ridicule ne tue pas, il paraît. Au sein d'une société graduellement de plus en plus tolérante, il est paradoxalement de plus en plus choquant d'être exposé à l'étroitesse d'esprit que persistent à adopter certaines personnes. La semaine dernière dans le New York Times, je suis tombé sur cette brève :


Alleging that a substitute teacher showed the R-rated film “Brokeback Mountain” in an eighth-grade classroom, a 12-year-old student and her grandparents are suing the Chicago Board of Education for about $500,000, The Associated Press reported. The lawsuit also names the school principal and the substitute teacher, and maintains that the student, Jessica Turner, suffered psychological distress necessitating treatment and counseling. The 2005 film, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as cowboys who attempt to conceal a gay relationship, won Academy Awards for direction, screenplay and score. The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court by Ms. Turner and her grandparents, Kenneth and LaVerne Richardson, said that the substitute teacher, referred to as Ms. Buford, asked a student to shut the classroom door at the Ashburn Community Elementary School last year and said, “What happens in Ms. Buford’s class stays in Ms. Buford’s class.” Mr. Richardson complained to school officials in 2005 about reading material that he said included curse words. Of the screening, he said: “This was the last straw. I feel the lawsuit was necessary because of the warning I had already given them on the literature they were giving out to children to read. I told them it was against our faith.”

Vous avez dit "n'importe quoi" ?!


Bruno Mattei n'est plus. C'est la triste nouvelle que j'ai apprise en début de semaine en consultant mes courriels. L'homme, né en 1931 à Rome, était reconnu pour ses films fauchés mais sympathiques, qui ont pris un tournant fort douteux au milieu des années '80, comme ceux de pas mal tous ses confrères "artisans" de films de genre. Débutant dans le métier comme monteur, dans les années '60, pour des productions d'espionnage et des péplums, il réalisa en 1976 son premier film, LOVE SACRIFICE. Suivirent plusieurs classiques tels que SS EXTERMINATION LOVE CAMP et EMANUELLE AND THE EROTIC NIGHTS (tous deux en '77), ou son film de nonnes THE OTHER HELL (1980).

Il tournait rapidement, torchant plusieurs films par année avec un penchant marqué pour le sordide. Ses films les plus connus sont HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980), un incroyable foutoir bourré de zombies et aujourd'hui devenu énormément révéré; BLADE VIOLENT (1983), un film de "femmes en prison" avec Laura Gemser; et RATS : NIGHT OF TERROR (1984), sa seule aventure dans le genre très "italien" du film de post-apocalypse.

S'étant progressivement retiré du domaine depuis 1996, Mattei effectuait depuis peu un retour aux films d'horreur, grâce entre autres à une persévérance remarquable et aux nouvelles opportunités offertes par la vidéo et la distribution de DVDs par internet. Ni les critiques, ni les fans ne sont tendres envers des titres comme CANNIBAL FEROX 3 : LAND OF DEATH (2003) ou encore ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD (2006), productions qui ont l'air extrêmement "fauchées" et que Mattei a tourné sous pseudo - entre autres avec son reconnaissable "Vincent Dawn". Plusieurs vieillards qui persistent à tourner ont un peu perdu leur "touche" avec les années (on n'a qu'à penser à Jess Franco ou, plus près de chez nous, à George A. Romero) et on se pose souvent la question : est-il préférable de se souvenir de ces hommes via leurs oeuvres les plus célébrées, ou de les voir continuer à nous offrir leurs visions sur pellicule, aussi piètres soient-elles ?

Je vous laisse méditer sur la question pendant que je vais visionner ROBOWAR...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Inner Ear

Needless to say, I've been bumpin' around town sick as a dog since April 28th, and didn't think much of it, until the symptoms started making me unable to sleep - and until a piercing migraine started being my best friend. I thought it was funny that only one side of my face (the right one) would be affected. I would wake up with a sore throat, after having coughed all night, my teeth hurting, my eye feeling as if pierced by a needle, with a massive headache. One morning I felt as if someone had stabbed my right ear. I couldn't get out of bed until six, prefering to sleep through the pain.

I've been sick before, but not that much. Every Spring, I feel bad for a while, and then it goes away. I usually suffer from one bronchitis a year, towards the end of the semester, when I'm so exhausted that my immune system is fucked. But it's been a busy winter so far, and since I stopped taking the bus on April 1st, the weather has been terrible - I don't think that biking in the rain with cold winds has helped me at all.

I started taking Sinutab, thinking I was only congested because of a cold that wouldn't quit. It did the job for a while until I had ingested all 24 tabs. I went back to get Sudafed, which proved kinda useless - it didn't take away any pain and seemed to work on my sinuses only on the left side of my face. I spoke with my pharmacist, and he told me to get Personnelle "rhume + sinus" caplets, filled with goodies like ibuprofen & pseudoephedrine. 20 pills later - I had to take them two at a time, every six hours - I wasn't feeling any better. I decided to haul my ass to the clinic on Thursday, my only day off.

I got there around 3 and waited for an hour, trying to begin Jon Lee Anderson's THE FALL OF BAGHDAD while an old biker was complimenting me on my tattoos. My doctor, whose last name is Chéry, examined me for about three seconds, after I told him about my symptoms, and concluded I had an otitis - a good old ear infection. I used to have one a year when I was younger, and the cure was always some delicious banana-flavoured syrup. No such luck this time - I got stuck with Apo-Amoxi, whatever the fuck that is. A pill every 8 hours for 10 days. My doctor also told me to ease up on the painkillers, because it was bringing my blood pressure up. Except that if I don't gobble up these fuckers like candy, life's a bitch.

So I went from drunk to drug addict in no time.


Patrice Sauvé is the man we can find behind such TV series as GRANDE OURSE and he directed a few episodes of LA VIE, LA VIE. I have never seen what he's done, because as some of you might already know I am not the greatest television consumer in this world. Often, when a TV director jumps to cinema, it stinks. It looks like a 90 minutes TV show with a budget on steroids. Is that the case with CHEECH, Sauvé's first escapade for the big screen ?

Narrating the troubles of six inter-connected characters over one snowy winter day in Montreal, the movie focuses on Ron (a very hairy Patrice Robitaille), the boss of an escort agency that's just been robbed off its "book" - containing all of the agency's girls pictures. Ron is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and so is Stéphanie (Fanny Mallette), one of his female employees. His right hand man, a simpleton named Maxime (Maxime Denommée), is in love with Stéphanie and is trying to convince her to quit the biz. Meanwhile, another hooker from his harem, Jenny (Anick Lemay), struggles with an office day job, her customers (including a fat and midget-like moustache-wearing Luc Senay - I think he wouldn't be able to do the "split" nowadays) and the urge to switch agencies and go to Cheech's. Two neighbors, the apathetic Olivier (François Létourneau) and a supremely depressed guy (whose fictional name escapes me) played by Maxim Gaudette, exchange tricks & visits; Gaudette tells Olivier to call a hooker to make him feel better.

Of course, Ron will end up suspecting Cheech's agency of the break-in, and in the lusty and grey underbelly of Montreal, all these headcases will bump into each other and try to get through the day without cracking up. Amusing how a movie about an escort agency manages to slip through its 104 minutes running time without showing a single ounce of skin. The ladies stay dressed, and the men behave - cocks generally stay safely tucked in pants, except for one hilarious exception.

Patrice Robitaille does an honest portrayal of a man walking on a thin rope, stopping every now and then in the course of his day for "spirit moments", thoughts about life he whispers in his portable recorder, supposed to calm him down. He perfectly fits the role - his "tall pimp with messy hair and fancy but inappropriate shoes" number is funny and believable. Some of the script's coincidences are bigger than others, but overall it's a fun & touching movie, without any right-wing moral message (blush, MA FILLE MON ANGE) or redeeming finale. Among a landfill full of turds like NOUVELLE-FRANCE or MAURICE RICHARD, it is movies like this that keep Québec's cinematography well balanced, and prevents it from sinking into stinky, bottomless depths.


In 2003, Glen Morgan directed the Crispin Glover vehicle WILLARD. That was his first job as a director after jumping the boat first from his writer's seat, then from his producer's Ferrari. One of the pens & wallets behind the first & third volumes of the FINAL DESTINATION franchise, the man has struck again, this time with an uneventful and unnecessary remake of Bob Clark's fantastic BLACK CHRISTMAS, from '74.

The story remains the same : some sorority girls stuck in school at Christmas are celebrating together, but are being progressively slashed in the course of the day. That's a nice excuse to show pretty girls gettin' killed, and a house secluded by a snowstorm.

While I have seen the original some years ago, my memories of it have already faded, and I can't really compare, except that John Saxon is nowhere to be seen in this one ! Instead, we get a bunch of extremely good-looking "teenagers" (played by Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Lacey Chabert, etc...) who are disposed of by an insane guy freshly escaped from his mental institution. The psychopath has a rare liver disease that gives him a yellow skin - reminds me of something Frank Miller drew, no ? - and has been raised by a sluttly mother that he quite litterally ate after killing her, back in the good old days where matricide was still considered cool.

Insert some typical "girly" drama, family tensions, a local pretty boy who's boning two of the chickas - and even posting a saucy sex video on the internet ! - and you pretty much get a lil' 80-something minutes of good clean blood red fun.

The movie is well directed, and the gore is good - splattered here and there - but the violence is ingeniously suggested rather than graphically shown. The script doesn't make any sense, and even borrows some of its elements from Wes Craven's THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (1991). It contains everything : false shocks, red herrings, villains that don't really die, and uneffective police. As well as Crystal Lowe's best push-up bra. No nudity, though, which was a key in the original 80's slashers. I have mixed feelings; it's pure breed "teen" stamped junk, and at some level, I find it surprisingly entertaining. Go figure.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Not Hot Heat

Last Saturday marked the arrival of a cold in my life. The worst kind. A cold that makes you wonder if there's a garbage dump truck with too much exhaust rolling down your throat and dropping some baggage along the way. I have been sick all week, but it didn't prevent me from going out on Monday and getting way too drunk to remember everything that happened. I also got to bed very late every night, watched a few movies, and tried to keep up. On my Thursday off, after writing for a few hours & drinking coffee, I went biking around, went to Bender's place to listen to his latest tracks - some of them have been signed to Oliver Huntemann's label Confused - and went to eat burgers at Miss Bijoux'.

I was supposed to have a few beers with some friends later on, and the Drunk Rocker showed up earlier so we could down a few Sapporos. We slowly got drunk, and in between conversations about Lucie Laurier, Nelly Arcan and other uninteresting topics, something seems to have snapped somewhere. Was it a rattle in the air, or the mucus in my brain ? The gin or the beer ? The twelve million things I did and didn't do during the previous days ? I was deep in the middle of a cold, perhaps thinking I was living its final stage, an impression forced on me by the booze I was massively absorbing. My cold was perhaps due to the 30 rainy days in April where I biked to work. When I curse against the shitty weather, it's about its logical consequences that I think; besides the bad drivers you have to watch out for with your bike breaks not working when they're wet, you also have to consider that being soaked from head to toe by COLD water, and then exposed to a strong COLD wind, has to have an effect sometime, somewhere.

So about the snap. Did I become a different person that evening ? I don't think so. Was the way some people perceive me changed forever ? No doubt. Because Miss Bijoux got really angry, or something, and since she's in Toronto until the wee hours of Monday, I can't really ask her what's up. She suggested I should "grow up" in an email she sent me, around 3 AM that night. We are no longer a couple but I cherish her with all my heart and I really don't like doing something harmful to her, even when I don't even realise it.

When we left her place, we were joined by Kardec, and headed for the Bistrot de Paris. It's central, well situated, and sparsely attended. It's an old school tavern, with Video-Poker machines in the back and drunks at the bar. When we got there, there was a lady sleeping on the counter and I ordered a big Labatt 50 bottle. This is something we seemingly have lost - big beer bottles cannot easily be found in modern Montreal watering holes. I told the guy at the bar : "Just like in the good old days of La Vieille 300."

[Flashback : In 2001, back when the old S.A.T. was located on Ste-Catherine, in an old bank building in front of the Spectrum, there was always a line-up for the events we were going to, because the doors rarely opened on time. And you probably know that waiting in line with THE THIRST is quite boring. So we slowly started going to the Vieille 300, a tevern located just in front, sitting near the front window and drinking big beer bottles. When the line-up started moving, we would cross the street again, slightly drunk, and resume the partying in a "trendier" setting. The place, however, was so laidback that we started going there even when nothing was going on at the S.A.T. - basically every time we wanted to drink cheap beer and talk. The Saturday night waiter started remembering our faces, and one Saturday we were with a few girlies and it was closing time. The time had flown without us noticing. So the waiter came to see us and said : "Just so you know, it's 3:20. I don't mind you staying here longer but you'll have to move to the back and roll me a joint". We stayed there until about 6 AM and he paid for all the beer we drank. I was probably too intoxicated to notice but the next morning I found out that I hadn't spent much. I also took home quite a babe, but that's another story.

One day I was walking in front of the tavern when the waiter came out running, calling my name. He hadn't seen me in a while and wanted to know what was up. I told him that pretty fuckin' soon we'd do an "afterhours" again. When I went to have a beer with a friend a few months later, my friend wasn't there. The current waiter told me he had left. A few years later, my two friends Brigitte & Jacynthe were celebrating their 33th birthday and were doing it at the Bistrot. They asked me to DJ so I went there in the afternoon to hook up my turntables. The owner & I were looking at each other for a while, and at one point I realised that he was my Saturday night waiter. End of flashback]

That's when he recognised me. The rest of the night was pretty fun, but around 2 AM Kardec was ready for something else. He got us guest lists for the Peer Pressure showcase at Lambi, where Flosstradamus were putting the party in the place. On the way to the club we ran into Bruce Benson, who was text messaging in front of Salon Daomé. We chatted for a while and then climber the stairs of Lambi, where everybody was tightly packed. This place easily gets hot, and the chicks were also pretty hot themselves. But perhaps a little young. We drank only one beer and got out. It was over anyway. Downstairs we were chatting with the flyer girls, and the Drunk Rocker told me he was going home. A few minutes later I saw Kardec getting out and he proposed we go to his place to drink Chartreuse & listen to a few of his latest tracks.

Little did I know I would be there until 7:30, going through his record shelves quite drunk. When I jumped back on my bike after leaving, it was so sunny that I didn't want to go home. I just cruised the streets, puzzled by the view of a few people walking to work.


My Chabrol of the week was LES BONNES FEMMES, a 1960 black & white shot classic. I logically wanted to see, after A DOUBLE TOUR (1959) the week before, what the follow-up would be. Chabrol is known for many things, and the three main characteristics of his movies are an hitchcockian eye, an obsession with upper class social mechanics, and beautiful women. The movie we're discussing today proposes two of the latter, focusing this time on a group of small time saleswomen and what they do for fun.

The movie begins with two of the girls, Jane (Bernadette Lafont) and Jacqueline (Clotilde Joano), being picked up by two partying womanisers for a meal and a grand tour of some nightclubs. Jacqueline saves herself for a man she'll truly love, and soon gets tired of the two guys' manners, and leaves. Jane has a boyfriend in the army, but she's somewhat easy and ends up following the men home and being tricked into a threesome. She gets home at dawn and wakes her roommate Ginette (Stéphane Audran). The next day, they go back to work where life goes on...

What we're faced with here is the quiet life of a few "modern" - for 1960 - parisian girls, where they dream out loud about passionnate love and walk around town looking for something to do. Men are presented here as a menace, and even those who, at first glance, seem innocent... are not. Chabrol takes us around some clubs and restaurants, people eat a lot, and we even get to visit the zoo. It's everyday life until the very end, where the tone shifts. The innocence is gone, the fantasy fades to be brutally replaced by a grim reality, and it concludes on an enigmatic note.

Claude Berri plays Jane's soldier boyfriend, in an early role. The two most breath taking presences in the movie are, of course, Clotilde Joano and Bernadette Lafont. Joano would play in another Chabrol, LES NOCES ROUGES, in 1973, and also appeared in Bertrand Tavernier's L'HORLOGER DE SAINT-PAUL in 1974 shortly before her death. Her beauty is gracious and tragic, and her soft eyes are immensely lovely. [She died in 1974 for reasons I could not find out. If anybody knows, please share the info with me...] Lafont is no stranger to beauty, and her right on portrayal of an easy-going girl with low morals does not for one moment take away her enormous charm. LES BONNES FEMMES is the kind of movie in which you fall in love with at least one of the girls, wether you're nostalgic or not about this long-lost era.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

From Chicago to L.A.

At the beginning of the week, in the New York Times, I read something that could be considered good news, at least if we juxtapose it to all the tragedies currently happening all over the world. It was a very brief piece of news, but it has an extreme significance - at least for the Chicago Skyline's future :

Commission Approves Chicago Spire

The Chicago Spire, a 2,000-foot tower designed by Santiago Calatrava, has been approved by the Chicago Planning Commission. The structure, with 1,200 residences, would be on North Lake Shore Drive, where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan. It still needs the approval of the City Council. Construction would begin this spring, with completion in 2010.

Far from being a catastrophe, this design has made the rounds of architecture magazines for a few years. Unlike most of the surreal projects designed by visionaries, thought, this one will actually get built. What's new here is that the building will not be comprised of 100% office space; 1,200 residences will be included. They probably won't be social housing, mind you, but if you think about it, that's about 1,200 empty appartments for the masses to take. Appartments will soon fall out of flavour anyway. Everybody and its dog are buying condos. Everybody's got nice stuff but me, as sung by the Dead Milkmen.

I must admit that I like what Calatrava does, but to a certain extent. His work is very unique, and inspired - to be convinced, one only has to take a look at his Trinity Bridge, in Manchester, or at the masterful '94-built Lyon-Satolas Airport Railway Station - and the fuildity of his shapes always hit the observer's imagination. But his "signature" curves and large, useless structures defy the mission and meaning of design, or of design as some of us see it : to make sure every aspect of the physical structure is useful, or has a goal. Superfluous seagull wings might be symbolic and very beautiful, but it's pure material wasted in a decorative frenzy.

The Spire seems like one of those buildings that still retains Calatrava's touch, but that proposes no wasted space. And that is an achievement. In an era where returning to simplicity seems the norm, and where big is always criticised, such a structure is a big "fuck you" to conventions.

Now, let's just hope that Chicago's City Council agrees with me on that one.


HARSH TIMES is one of those movies I really wanted to see, but about which I didn't want to hear anything. I wanted my experience to be a complete surprise. I had a slight idea of its synopsis, but I avoided reading critics or looking up "amateur appreciations" on the web. I'm known to be a patient man. And so I waited. Waited for its DVD release date, and waited until the buzz cooled down so I could get it for free on a Boîte Noire employee friend's account.

I wasn't disappointed by all these months in limbo. HARSH TIMES is first and foremost the story of Jim Luther Davis (Christian Bale), an icy ex marine back among the living with quite a few sequels. He expects a job in the L.A.P.D. that will allow him to marry his Mexican girlfriend, but when they decide not to hire him, he blacks out and goes on a slackin' spree. He smokes joints & drinks beers while riding around in his car with his pal Mike (SIX FEET UNDER'S Freddy Rodriguez) in South Central L.A. As their wandering around evolves, you can't help but feel it's not going towards a happy ending...

If you take strong characters portrayed by talented actors, and drive them towards an inevitable faith, the cinematic tension created can become close to unbearable. You don't need kidnapping or big guns to obtain what is commonly refered to as "suspense"; just a situation from which the characters can't get out. Like in Nicolas Winding Refn's PUSHER, Bale's fate is sealed in the first few frames of the movie, when he wakes up from a war-related nightmare in his brand new car somewhere in Mexico.

The small underworld of latino gangsters is well portrayed, and the language level is dead on. It's a brutal world out there, and you never know who's going to die next. Just like at war. This is an "alternate" universe you wouldn't want to live in. David Ayer's first movie is hard-hitting and contemplative; it might not be for everybody, but those who dare take a peek into the troubled lives of these "heroes" will not regret it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lettre ouverte à la STM

"S.T.M.", tout le monde le sait, est le sigle de la Société de Transport de Marde. Je leur ai envoyé une "lettre ouverte" le 10 mars et je viens de me rendre compte que je n'ai - à ce jour - pas encore reçu de réponse.

Peut-être que l'actualité de cette missive est aujourd'hui quelque peu défraîchie, mais je me permets quand même de vous l'offrir en pleine face, sans fleurs puantes pour aller avec.

Lettre ouverte à la STM


La présente est pour vous aviser qu'à partir du 1er avril 2007, vos services ne seront plus requis dans mes déplacements quotidiens.

Comme la saison du vélo est de retour, ça sera un soulagement pour moi de ne plus avoir à emprunter vos autobus aux horaires stupéfiants de débilité, toujours bondés et exceptionnellement mal conduits.

Pendant que les petites vieilles tombent par terre parce que :

a) elles n'ont pas de place pour s'asseoir et
b) vos chauffeurs / chauffeuses kamikazes n'ont jamais appris, semble-t-il, à freiner subtilement,

je serai en train de pédaler dans le trafic en essayant d'éviter de me faire emboutir par ces mêmes chauffeurs / chauffeuses.

Au cas où vous ne l'auriez pas remarqué, la 24 - et d'autres lignes, à ce que j'ai cru comprendre - DÉBORDE. C'est peut-être signe qu'il est temps d'augmenter la fréquence de passage... et non vos tarifs. Attention, j'espère que vous avez bien lu. Quoi ? Ah, vous allez augmenter vos tarifs quand même cette année ? Trois fois plutôt qu'une ? C'est là quelque chose de véritablement surprenant.


Le blogueur masqué

[J'ai signé ma lettre de mon véritable nom mais je trouve que j'en fais déjà pas mal ici pour que les gens qui me connaissent puissent m'identifier, alors que ceux qui savent qui je suis au civil se réjouissent de leur perspicacité et que les autres - qui s'en crissent probablement - continuent de s'en crisser.]

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Embarré en d'dans

Je pétitionne sauvagement pour faire déclarer illégale toute activité professionnelle par un si beau jour. Samedi, midi 48. J'ai dormi quatre petites heures cette nuit et je sens que je vais le payer ce soir. Je suis arrivé au bureau en vélo après une magnifique balade sur le bitume de Sherbrooke St. avec le vent dans la face et des mini-jupes plein les yeux. Le soleil tape fort dans les baies vitrées de mon huitième étage et les femmes avec qui je travaille, désoeuvrées, parlent fort - comme d'habitude. Je voudrais être partout ailleurs sauf ici. Donnez-moi un bout de ferme du Delaware ou une plage du Maine, n'importe quoi ! J'irais bien me péter la face dans les vagues froides de Gaspé ou boire une Corona sur la terrasse d'un café trop cher de Baie Saint-Paul.

Je ne sais pas quel genre de structure de support ont utilisé les ingénieurs qui ont bâti l'immeuble dans lequel je travaille, mais je sais que certaines agentes de voyage mangent probablement trop de pâtes et / ou de patates. Elles marchent d'un bout à l'autre du bureau et le sol tremble. Amplitude inconnue, mais c'est du sérieux !

C'est presque tragique de ne pas pouvoir profiter de ces premières belles journées. Je me console en me disant qu'il y a des petits enfants qui meurent de faim partout dans le monde, ou des vieux garçons qui n'ont jamais exploré ce qui se dissimule sous les jupes de mesdemoiselles. Et je me console en me disant que ce soir, je m'en vais voir la belle Maus au De Lima avec le Drunk Rocker, qu'on va en virer une tabarnak, et conduire nos vélos complètement intoxiqués jusqu'au Mile End Bar pour aller serrer la pince de Bender et entendre le beau rouquin Marinelli.

Et demain, je ne m'en souviendrai probablement pas.


Depuis BRINGING OUT THE DEAD (1999), Scorcese n'avait pas torché un film que j'aie envie de voir. Quand j'ai rencontré Barbara Bouchet en 2000 à Tarrytown (NY), dans le cadre de CultCon 2000, elle revenait de deux semaines de tournage sur le plateau de GANGS OF NEW YORK, et même cette légère coïncidence ne m'a pas donné le goût de le visionner. Di Caprio, pas mon favori, et couplé à l'aspect "film historique" avec des gars en pantalons accordéon et des bérêts sales, c'était le summum du "pas envie d'voir ça". [J'allais rencontrer, en août 2003, une jolie demoiselle répondant au doux nom de Sara Bouchet, mais elle n'avait malheureusement aucun lien de parenté avec Barbara. Elle était toutefois assez délicieuse et je regrette amèrement qu'elle ait tout fait pour ne pas rester en contact avec moi.]

En 2004, le p'tit grisonnant aux sourcils noirs sortait THE AVIATOR, une autre fresque historique avec Di Caprio. Je répète ? Pas. Envie. D'le voir.

2006. Scorcese sort un "remake" de INFERNAL AFFAIRS, un film de Hong Kong réalisé par Lau Wai Keung et Mak Siu Fai en 2002. THE DEPARTED a tout pour réussir : une belle bande-annonce, et surtout... un casting en BÉTON armé. Les producteurs ont probablement dû cracher le pognon en toussant tellement ça leur faisait mal aux bourses : Jack Nicholson (qui, avec sa drôle de coupe de cheveux, parvient presque à nous faire oublier le monstre sacré qu'il est), Leonardo Di Caprio (encore ! mais bon...), Matt Damon (toujours aussi fouine et détestable, on se demande ce que les filles peuvent lui trouver), Mark Wahlberg (hilarant), Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone et la troublante Vera Farmiga (dont le regard me rappelle étrangement une ancienne fréquentation pharmacologue, mais on gardera cette histoire pour une autre fois si vous le voulez bien).

Outre les joueurs, on a un scénario en béton, actualisation suprêmement habile de celui de 2002, trempé dans la bonne sauce Scorcese - chansons rock fétiches des années '70, technique typique avec plan séquences et narration, personnages déjantés, dialogues finement ciselés - et relocalisation de Hong Kong à Boston. Peu ou pas d'asiatiques en vue, des irlandais homophobes et racistes, et une trame narrative qui crée immanquablement une immense tension chez le spectateur. Vous vous doutez probablement de quoi il retourne : un personnage de truand est "undercover" dans la police de Boston, et un policier a infiltré les mafieux. Et tous les deux jouent à savoir qui démasquera qui le premier.

Nicholson est diabolique; il faut le voir avec sa gueule de maniaque, en robe de chambre, la tête enveloppée dans un nuage de cocaïne, dire à une nana aux gros canons : "You want some coke ? There it is. Don't move till you're numb".

THE DEPARTED est une observation acidulée de la petite pègre de Boston, et des relations souvent incestueuses que ses membres entretiennent avec la loi. Ce sont des personnages jouissifs qui se croisent et s'entrechoquent, quitte à en produire des flamèches. C'est surtout le meilleur film de Scorcese depuis GOODFELLAS en '90, et il n'est guère surprenant qu'il ait râflé tous ces Oscars.


En 1959 sortait sur les écrans français A DOUBLE TOUR, le troisième film de Claude Chabrol, et son premier thriller psychologique. Un film pas aussi touffu que tous ceux qui allaient suivre, mais certes fascinant, et magistralement réussi. Le récit est conçu de façon à ce qu'il n'y ait pas vraiment de personnage principal, mais un portrait variable de la bourgeoisie vinicole d'une famille d'Aix-en-Provence. Famille composée du père Henri (Jacques Dacqmine), de sa femme Thérèse (Madeleine Robinson, courageuse), et de leurs deux enfants Richard (André Jocelyn, énigmatique) et la jolie Élisabeth (Jeanne Valérie). Élisabeth fréquente un demi-voyou irresponsable, fort en gueule et constamment saoul (un Jean-Paul Belmondo pré-A BOUT DE SOUFFLE, extrêmement jeune, et surtout impayable) et Henri trompe sa femme avec sa voisine, la belle Léda (Antonella Lualdi). Veille sur ce bel ensemble la bonne Julie, interprétée par une Bernadette Lafont jeune et sensuelle, dont la scène d'ouverture du film fait l'élégie.

Je vous épargnerai les détails de l'intrigue en vous disant qu'elle vaut largement la peine que vous la découvriez vous-même. Sachez toutefois que, outre l'habile étude psychologique, on remarque ici des plans de caméra finement travaillés et ambitieux, et un montage pas toujours linéaire qui y va de quelques astuces - retours en arrière, superpositions, élipses.

On voit ici apparaître pour une des premières fois un rôle de policier atypique, formule sans cesse renouvellée qui deviendra une marque de commerce de Chabrol dans pratiquement tous ses autres films. 1959 se retrouve figée dans le temps, avec la plastique impeccable des actrices de Chabrol le jouisseur, et le vignoble enchanteur dans lequel se déroule l'intrigue nous donne envie d'aller voir si nous y sommes.