Amer

Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
0 Love It
Save it
Amer
It’s been argued that this frightening and erotic piece of experimental montage from Belgian directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani is all form and no feeling. It’s easy to see why, since its most easy pleasures derive from a cool juxtaposition and stylisation of sound and imagery. But there’s more to it: the film also functions as a knowing, lightly feminist homage to Hitchcock and the chief exponents of the Giallo genre, Dario Argento and Mario Bava. As such, its ‘meanings’ may not be instantly traceable through a cosy linear storyline or densely wrought characterisations.

In immaculate detail and with barely any dialogue, the film depicts three symbolic events in the life of Ana: the first involves a family death and some mid-coitus voyeurism; another shows her first experience of male attraction; and the final, most impressive chapter (a wholesale updating of a key segment from Argento’s ‘Deep Red’) sees our heroine (played by Marie Bos, pictured above) sneaking around an eerie, European mansion, maybe stalked by a razor-wielding maniac.

Cattet and Forzani sculpt with pure mood. They deliver a vivid sense of Ana’s heightened sensitivity towards her surroundings via an array of bravura camera tricks and fine edits.  The best way to describe it would be to imagine the shower scene in ‘Psycho’ played over feature length. A large part is shot in extreme close-up, mostly of Ana’s eyes or the silhouette of her crotch underneath a billowy cotton summer dress.

This technique imbues the film with a rich sense of texture, such as in an early scene where Ana runs her fingers over the cracking, mottled skin of (what appears to be) the corpse of an old man, or later when she’s riding in a taxi and the heat makes the leather trim too hot to touch. Some may find the film a mite academic in its glassy deconstruction of genre convention, and it’s perhaps asking a bit much to read it as anything more than a claustrophobic portrait of sexual danger, but it still fulfils that highly specific brief with blood-splashed gusto.

By: David Jenkins

Posted:

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday January 7 2011
Duration: 91 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Helene Cateet, Bruno Forzani
Cast: Cassandra Foret
Marie Bos
LiveReviews|2
1 person listening

I saw this at Fright Fest last year- and I have never seen so many extreme close ups of eyes in any film. It's hard to watch, not because the subject matter (which is dubious) is hard, but because it hurts your eyes to look at. It's mostly shot way too close up and there is almost no dialogue. Don't go if you're sleepy as it will make you want to close your eyes to rest them and you might fall asleep. If it hadn't been impolite to do so in the presence of the director and crew while sitting in the front row, I may well have done. There are some pretty shots though and the sound design is good. But if you want something with a discernible "story", don't go. If you are epileptic, don't go. If you like to be able to focus your eyes, don't go. There are many better films to see out there, and maybe this belongs in an art gallery rather than a cinema...