Thursday, April 29, 2010
Release date: 1983
Alain Robbe-Grillet was a French author and filmmaker associated with the Nouveau Roman trend. He actually wrote a novel entitled La Belle Captive in 1975. I’ll admit now that I haven’t read any of his work but I have seen reference to them in other works and understand that this film, first released in 1983, had little in common with the novel, using the name only and lifting perhaps some themes – indeed I have seen it referred to as more a spiritual sequel to the novel. But the themes and characters within this film also came from other Robbe-Grillet works, for instance Les Gommes.
Now, I will say that – as I have not read any of his literature nor seen any other of his films – I am coming at this as a Robbe-Grillet virgin. There will be deeper connections I have missed and I apologies in advance to Robbe-Grillet scholars. The film itself is less a vampire film and more has vampire themes which are played with and explored. I came across it after recommendation from my friend Leila who described it thus, “Imagine if David Lynch and Jean Rollin collaborated”.
Comte de Corinth is interesting and clearly a multilayered symbolic figure – as is everything within the film. In 1797 Goethe wrote the poem the Bride of Corinth – which introduced (as far as I am aware) the first female vampire in Germanic poetry. The Bride, incidentally, gives a gift of a golden chain at her wedding, much like the one Marie-Ange wore and Walter now has in his possession. Further Comte de Corinth appeared in an earlier Robbe-Grillet work. In the book “Robbe-Grillet and Modernity: Science, Sexuality and Subversion” by Raylene L Ramsay it is pointed out that Corinth “Is an expert at underwater hunting with a harpoon and joins a series of maiden hunting and target practice on female figures”.
the Blood Spattered Bride and, of course, of Jean Rollin generally as the beach is a symbol he often uses. In many respects, whilst she clearly drinks his blood, Marie-Ange (or Marie Angel) is stealing away Walter’s spirit or soul, causing his obsession (revealed in the repetition) that is reminiscent of the OCD elements displayed by the folkloric vampire.
7 out of 10.
The imdb page is here.