Movie(s) Review-Successive Slidings of Pleasure and Trans-Europ-Express

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Both titles will hit your shelves on 2-11

Review-Redemption has a reputation of releasing some very rare abstract cinema. This time around they give us two releases from the late French director Alain Robbe-Grillet. While diehard fans may know the man from his film Last Year at Marienbad, these are two smaller releases that came out after that classic. First up is from 1974 and is titled Successive Slidings of Pleasure. The plot of this film is about a woman who stabs her roommate with a pair of scissors. Sounds easy enough right, well she is arrested and questioned by her lawyer and the judge after the crime was committed. But, the twist is that is she guilty or has the murder actually happen. This film mixes two genres I am a huge fan of, one being the classic film noir in the start of the film and then wraps it up in a fantasy warp. This film lies somewhere between early David Lynch and Jess Franco, and may be a hard sell for the casual movie fan. This film’s pace is slow, like it is in no hurry to get to the next scene. This film walks a balance of eroticism and just plain odd, where you are not sure where our character’s head clearly is at. This film paints a picture that even the most religiously stiffening figures can cave into desire. In a scene that is the showcase when there is a confessional and the Priest tries to make them aware that this is natural while he is trying to hold back his urges. This film today would be classified as “experimental” or “art house”, which this film fits both. This film does a good balance of what is real and what is fantasy, where the viewer is just as undecided as the director seemed to be. This film can also be seen as groundbreaking for the direction it took with some of the plot points, that the film goes forward in a fascinating way that leaves the viewer in a state of utter suspense that we have to know what happens next. This is an erotic dream that is so complex but yet so simple, the direction of the film is never quite known but once the film ends you seem to be stuck thinking more about it than one could guess. I feel this could pass as Franco in his heyday, and that those fans would be happy and excited to see a film like this. All in all, this was slow, very slow and at times felt very dated, but the transfer was very well done and I know that this has so much repeat value, just for the fact that it leaves the viewer having to put so much thought into what they just witnessed. While the film industry is built around entertainment and fluff, sometimes complexity and a film that takes you out of your element is always welcome.

8 out of 10

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Review- Alain Robbe-Grillet takes an odd approach in this film; this was originally released in the late 60’s and for that time this film had to be called cutting edge just for the premise alone. Alain gets aboard the train with his wife and a film producer who suggests they make a film using a train. The train seems to be going from Paris to Antwerp, that this train is seen as a setting for drug trafficking and eroticism. Elias as the story tells us is heading to Antwerp to get some cocaine. As the story is being told it constantly seems like the story changes and straight-forward changes to odd and unknown. The biggest positive to this film is the black and white approach; it works and makes the film seem such more of a mystery. The film is in its heart is unpredictable and also unconventional. The twists and rewrites of this film make the film at times come across more comedy than it is meant to be, but that works in the film’s favor. This film has so much going for it that you know after watching it you experienced something. The film delves into rape and strong sexuality that I feel will turn off the casual viewer because for the 60’s, this film seems a little hardcore which for fans of this genre of experimental art will think encouraged people like Nick Zedd and Richard Kern. The only negative I could have about this film is that I did not discover it sooner. The transfer is amazing and the kicker is that it did not feel dated at all. This film feels fresh and really seems to be gauging where cinema seemed to be heading before the Vietnam War, when America was heading towards a more open voice in their films, this film clearly shows that France knew what was coming and jumped the gun.

8.5 out of 10