Yann Gonzalez has been a prolific filmmaker who has a keen and obvious eye for visuals and provocative cinema. From directing You and the Night to producing the criminally underseen We Are the Flesh, his work has stirred and offended in equal measures.
Now he returns with his absolutely delightful, funny, and brilliantly trashy Knife + Heart.
Directed by Yann Gonzalez and starring Vanessa Paradis (of this fame,) Knife + Heart revolves around a third-rate gay porn director Anne in Paris during the Summer of 1979. After her lover and editor Lois leaves her, Anne is dismayed and looks to shoot her most ambitious film yet, alongside extroverted yet trusted friend Archibald. However, when one of her actors is found brutally murdered, Anne is thrown into an investigation that turns her life upside-down!
Knife + Heart is both a stunning depiction of the unbridled sexual seventies and over-the-top thriller films of that period too. Reminiscent of movies such as Brian De Palma’s phenomenal Phantom of the Paradise and the crazed antics of El Topo, Knife + Heart is a dream-like fantasy. Drenching in pastel colours, Gonzalez presents this almost fantastical slasher film that dives deep into the gay porn scene and confident self-identity plagued by blood and darkness.
Paradis is a brilliant anti-heroine. She is a somewhat crazed and grief-stricken character who is deeply affected by the murders that happen around her but gives off this loud offish personality that bristles all those around her. It is fantastic to watch Paradis tackle this brutish woman who is unabashed yet still sympathetic and sensitive to her surroundings. Anne is a fantastic character who utilises scenes around her into her gay porn film Homocidal (which, I wish existed as its own movie.
Most of all, Knife + Heart is a sumptuous watch brings this dream-like nature into fruition. There is a lot of beauty within her – whether it is the sun-soaked Parisian countryside or the white clothed walls of the intense film. Filled with freed sexuality and an abundance of earnest characters, Gonzalez has honoured the period setting and embellished it with modern colours and filming. Giallo in some aspects, De Palma in others, and even venturing into the world of Mighty Boosh (with its utterly bizzare villain,) the movie delves into the excess of porn and horror and marries them in gorgeous package.
Whilst it may not find a terribly big audience, Gonzalez’ film will find a terribly committed one.
Knife + Heart is playing at Fragments Festival
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