Friday, May 30, 2014

Eden and After (Redemption/Kino Blu-ray) - French 70's Sado-Psychedlia

Becoming familiar with Alain Robbe-Grillet’s work hasn’t always been easy. He can produce anything from a fairly straightforward narrative to a psychedelic freak-out to a psychosexual, metaphorical deluge of uncommon images slapdash together, each frame of film produced with the utmost care, but edited together like a mouse on fever dream acid #9. That’s a director whose work I enjoy following. Redemption has tackled another title from his catalog, Eden and After, a movie that I found somewhat challenging to watch. The slow drudge to the finish line filled with philosophical meandering isn’t always easy for a confessed horror film addict, but by the end the picture changes shape and form to become something of an erotic nightmare.

Synopsis from Redemption/Kino:

From the darkly erotic imagination of Alain Robbe-Grillet comes a dreamlike fable in which a group of decadent French students are drawn into the psychological and sexual games of a mysterious Dutchman (Pierre Zimmer). Once they imbibe his "fear powder," the students experience a series of hallucinatory episodes: ruminations on death, explorations of sexual curiosity, and striking tableaux of sadomasochistic fantasy. This special edition includes
an interview with writer/director Robbe]Grillet, and a complete alternate cut of the film, entitled N. THROWS THE DICE.

Fans of Robbe-Grillet’s work will rejoice that Eden and After has a shiny new Blu face. It’s a quality production and the picture very good. By 1970, with the psychedelic overtones in full swing around the globe, what better to enjoy then a movie the involves the consumption of something called fear power, a substance hell-bent on revealing truth and reality and the scary world that goes beyond the general accepted ambiance of free-love. While the Eden and After polishes up into a stark raving bad acid trip, it begins much more with a sweat, surreal query into the nature of reality. Hedonism. Decadence. Immature and naïve youth exploring the planet and each other until a rude awakening indelicately drop our protagonists straight into the recipe books for true self exploration. Not that I want to give the whole damn thing away. Know that the movie is about the evolution of being through metaphor and moderate schizophrenic cut and paste and you’ll have a fair idea of what is to come.

The Blu-ray is newly mastered in HD from 35mm film elements. As usual, it is a French film with English subtitles. The disc includes several trailers of Robbe-Grillet’s work along with a rather lengthy interview with the director himself. The disc also features the alternate cut of the film, N. Took the Dice.

Note: 1.66:1 1920x1080p

For fans of Robbe-Grillet’s work or folks looking to continue their French film studies this is a strong entry into the early 70’s world of French film. For those of you preferring a more straight forward film, peanut butter and jelly if you will, you may find Eden and After a bit challenging. For those of you looking for something frisky to watch with your artsy boyfriend or girlfriend, this would might be a way to impress the pants off your significant other.

Eden and After is available to order now.

-Doc Terror

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