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BALLROOM

France, 2002 (MIFF 2003, Frissons – Uncompromising French Film)

Director: Patrick Marie Bernard, Pierre Trividic, Xavier Brillat

Rene, an artist, lives with his writer boyfriend in an abandoned dance hall on the chilly French coast. He becomes fixated on repetitive tasks, behaviour and images and feels, oddly as though he is "coming down with something". Rene and his partner enjoy a curious ritualist sex life; subtle fetishistic and sado-masochistic play takes place in a shadowy bedroom that reflects a disintegrating state of mind.

Rene becomes obsessed with an old photograph of two comedians in odd, childish drag. His obsession blossoms into a type of psychosis when his doppelganger begins materialising around the house, clad in a gingham pinafore, spouting gibberish! Initially comical, the occurrences soon take on a malevolent and highly disturbing tone akin to the appearances of the mind-warping villains of David Lynch's Twin Peaks or Lost Highway. As Rene comes to grips with apparitions, still undecided as to whether they are hallucinations, a new 'work' promises a peak in his artistic career. Either that or they are about to descend into a psychological hell.

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