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21:12 PIANO BAR

Belgium, 1981 (MIFF 1985)

Director: Mary Jiminez

21:12 Piano Bar is one of the most dazzling debut features to be seen in a long time. Dark, moody and menacing it is as innovative for the film noir genre as The Passenger was for Road Movies, and is similarly structured around one breath taking, brilliant sequence.

The story is as follows: Florence (Carole Courtoy) has been brutally mutilated and murdered. Another woman, Nathalie (Lucinda Childs) overhears an account of the crime in the bar where she works as a pianist. She tries to find out more, and meets all the people who knew Florence. Fascinated by several accounts of Florence's masochistic tendencies, she turns every encounter into strong sexual experiences from which the ghosts and fantasies of her own sexuality begin to emerge as the true source of her concern.

Although rich and exciting in terms of narrative, all of Jiminez' films but 21:12 Piano Bar especially, raise important theoretical questions about the status of the spectator and the power of images on the screen. Often the rhythmical, melodic patterns established on the soundtrack are violently contradicted by images of rare, disturbing poignancy. In Jiminez' work the desire to show springs from the desire to know, and to explore without false inhibitions, the haunting dreams and nightmares of a noble, immensely compassionate sensibility.

- Don Ranvaud

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