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SOMBRE

France, 1998 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Philippe Grandrieux

Sombre is one of the most confrontational films in this year's Festival programme. The intimacy with which director Philippe Grandneux explores a chapter in the life of a roaming serial murderer is at once compelling and repellent. Grandrieux bears all the marks of a major directorial talent and, although his career in film and video extends back three decades, he has chosen this, his first feature film, to unveil his utterly unique style. Grandrieux has incorporated brief passages of experimentalism (toying with editing, distorted images and perception of time) to communicate the fractured psyche of his protagonist, the brutal strangler of women, Jean.

Sombre divided the Locarno Film Festival jury between Ihose who were morally outraged by the film and those who saw a purpose in its darkness. There have been many similar crime dramas throughout cinema his­tory, but very few have captured the pure essence of fear that permeates Sombre.

Simple in construction, Sombre introduces us to Jean midway through his torture and slaying of a name­less woman he has picked up in his travels around France in search of easy targets. His violent frenzy, sub­sequent emotional churning, voluminous alcohol con­sumption and then resumption of his spree continue in a horrifying cycle until his abduction of Claire and later her sister Christine. For a brief moment, the curtain of sadis­tic insanity parts and Jean can momentarily view his actions in the light of rationality.

See also...

LAKE, A

“Confirms Grandrieux as a true original.” - Variety ... Installation artist and cinematic visionary Philippe Grandrieux (La Vie Nouvelle, MIFF 03) creates a monochromatic, snow-bound wilderness ... More »

IT MAY BE THAT BEAUTY HAS STRENGTHENED OUR RESOLVE - MASAO ADACHI

This tribute to radical Japanese writer-director Masao Adachi is the first in a series of retrospectives from filmmaker Philippe Grandrieux (A Lake, MIFF 2009). ... Grandrieux's incendiary series is ... More »

LA VIE NOUVELLE

Be prepared for a singular, disturbing film expenence. Set in an undisclosed location, most probably somewhere in war ravaged Eastern Europe, a group of men undertake a number of nefarious ... More »

VICTOR

Ten year old Victor chooses a freezing winter evening to run away from home. Exhausted, afraid, his flight takes him to a fairground, the only bright and welcoming sight in the darkness. Moments ... More »

CHANCE OR COINCIDENCE

Myriam enjoys a quiet sojourn in Venice with her young son, Serge. In her previous career as a dancer she was filmed in this very city in a passionate duet with her estranged husband. She is ... More »

SITCOM

Francois Ozon's feature-length debut—after more than a dozen shorts and featurettes (including MIFF 1998's See the Sea)—is an hilarious black comedy, irreverent, wacky, weird and ... More »

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