As you may have noticed, it’s Valentine’s Day today. In case you were aware but think the whole day is far too mushy, don’t worry: here’s my suggestion for an Alternative Valentine’s Day Film Festival.
(R: Lynne Stopkewich, CAN, 1996)
Kissed is a romantic movie, be it with a twist: while Sandra Larson (Molly Parker) loves boys, she prefers them when dead. Which is why it’s pretty handy she works in a mortuary. A beautiful film on love (if you can look past the necrophilia, but that’s just a detail). When I saw this film in Antwerp at a late night screening, I was the only one in the theatre. A shame as this was one of the most impressive films of the nineties. For Kissed is as beautiful as it’s morbid. Fine performances by Parker (accidently, this movie is how I discovered her) and Peter Outerbridge make this, Lynne Stopkewich‘s debut, so outstanding. Not to be missed.
2. BLUE VELVET
(R: David Lynch, USA, 1986)
The movie starts in a idyllic place, but the camera moves to a grass field and shows an ear, neatly cut off and (if I remember correctly) with some ants walking over it… David Lynch has always had a peculiar relationship with love and romance. Remember Eraserhead, the boy who didn’t have a grandmother and decided to grow one himself in Lynch’s short The Grandmother or the truckload of fetishes on display in Twin Peaks.
The scene where Isabella Rosselini is forced by Dennis Hopper while Kyle MacLachlan is forced to watch everything in the closet may give you an alternative idea for things to do on your Valentine’s night. Violent and perverse, not the sort of movie most people would classify as ‘romantic’. But we do.
3. LA MORTE VIVANTE a.k.a. THE LIVING DEAD GIRL
(R: Jean Rollin, FR, 1982)
A leak of radioactive gas is the reason a girl comes back to life. The only problem is that now she’s a zombie, she can only survive on fresh human blood. No problem, her lesbian lover will take care of that… It’s Feb 14 and we were talking about love and can it get more romantic than killing people or give your own blood so that your lover can survive? I didn’t think so.
La Morte Vivante, being a Rollin movie, focuses luridly on nudity (you might argue whether Rollin had a fetish for nude women or if his budget was so tiny there just wasn’t any money for clothes) and the blood is way too read to be even slightly convincible (mind you, Rollin’s Zombie Lake featured people with green paint on their face and forced us to believe they were zombies… so we really shouldn’t complain too much about redness here), but all that doesn’t matter. On a romantic scale, this third film of our festival will get the highest points. On a quality scale, not. Then again, if you watch all three movies in a row, it’s already way passed bedtime when you’re watching La Morte Vivante and that’s exactly when you should watch this sort of movie.