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L'Éden et Après

Eden and After

France/Czechoslovakia/Tunisia 1970
produced by
Samy Halfon for Como Film, Slovensky Film, S.A.T.P.E.C.
directed by Alain Robbe-Grillet
starring Catherine Jourdan, Lorraine Rainer, Sylvain Corthay, Richard Leduc, Pierre Zimmer, Ludovit Króner, Jarmila Kolenicová, Juraj Kukura, Catherine Robbe-Grillet, Eva Luther, J. Villars
written by Alain Robbe-Grillet, music by Michel Fano

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Out of boredom mostly, a group of students go to campus café Eden before, during or after lectures for a bit of adventure, as they have started an elaborate series of roleplays just to escape everyday life, roleplays that involve fake Russian roulette, fake poisoning, rape, and probably a hundred other things that might spell danger. As mentioned, all fun and games only, nobody really gets hurt - which starts to bother Violette (Catherine Jourdan), who craves for some real excitement as opposed to the reenactment thereof. Enter Duchemin (Pierre Zimmer), a stranger to the group who attracts their attention with a weird magic trick, then promises them real adventure - and especially Violette eats out of his hand right away ... no literally, she lets him drug her with a powder that creates fear. Once the effects of the drug have worn off, she couldn't be happier, so when the stranger asks her out on a secret date at the old factory she couldn't be happier - but the date doesn't go as planned, as men who prefer to stay in the shadows seem to chase her all over the compound, she runs into many of her Eden-friends in weird situations, and at the end of the day, she finds Duchemin dead, and only a postcard in his pocket might be a clue to ... whatever it is.

Returning home, Violette notices that a priceless picture that had been in her possession rather accidently had been stolen. Incidently, the motive on the postcard she had taken from Duchemin resembles the picture quite perfectly, and the postcard shows a house in Tunisia - so Violette travels to Tunisia, where she finds Duchemin, very much alive, and he seems to work as a painter and sculptor, and is more than willing to become his nude model, forgetting all about the painting, which another of Duchemin's models finds and steals though, and here's where all of Violette's student friends reappear on the scene and have her kidnapped and tortured, just like the other model who actually has stolen the picture who's ultimately killed even. Violette on the other hand can escape poisoning one of the students, but she almost dies when crossing the desert, being saved only by a woman who's the splitting image of herself. Eventually, Violette manages to track down Duchemin, only to see him killed again, this time for real. And when Violette finally finds the picture at the center of the whole story, she couldn't care less ...

But all of this is a long time in the future, in the now, Violette still visit the Eden regularly, slightly bored, playing their rolegames that promise more than they keep by definition, and wait for a stranger called Duchemin to finally arrive.

 

Eden and After is more of an experience than an actual narrative film: Its very loose plot seems to be cobbled together from references to pulp fiction and genre cinema, with sadomasochistic flashes thrown in for good measure, plus quite a bit of nudity and sex scenes - but that's not to say Eden and After is a piece of exploitation cinema as the film beautifully relies on an otherworldly cinematic language, associative editing, avant garde philosophy and the narrative logic of a nightmare. True, one might probably fight to understand as much as half of the film, but it really sucks in its audience (open mind provided) and, yeah, provides them with an interesting experience to say the least.

Recommended!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD