Screened as part of NZIFF 2019

Knife+Heart 2018

Un couteau dans le coeur

Directed by Yann Gonzalez Incredibly Strange

A third-rate porn producer’s most ambitious film yet may also be her most costly in this murderously kitschy homage to giallo, Grand Guignol and old school slasher movies.

France / Mexico / Switzerland In French with English subtitles
102 minutes DCP



Charles Gillibert


Yann Gonzalez
Cristiano Mangione


Simon Beaufils


Raphaël Lefèvre

Production designer

Sidney Dubois

Costume designer

Pauline Jacquard




Vanessa Paradis (Anne)
Nicolas Maury (Archibald)
Kate Moran (Loïs)
Jonathan Genet (Guy)
Romane Bohringer (Cathy)
Khaled Alouach (Nans/Fouad)
Félix Maritaud (Thierry)
Noé Hernandez (José)
Thibault Servière (Misia)
Bastien Waultier (Karl)
Bertrand Mandico (François)
Jules Ritmanic (Rabah)
Pierre Pirol (Bouche d’or)
Dourane Fall (Fabio)


Cannes (In Competition)
London 2018
Rotterdam 2019


1079. Giallo. Dildo Daggers. Cruising. Neon. Leather. Slasher. Voyeurism. Vanessa Paradis. Dark. Humour. If these words don’t compel you to dive headfirst into Yann Gonzalez’s mesmerising French psychodrama, this festival has plenty of safer options. If they trigger you into action, then be prepared to strap one on and strap yourself in for a wild ride through a netherworld of sex and sin.

Opening with an arresting murder scene in a Parisian gay bar, and from then on rarely letting up, this beautifully skeezy ode to the pre-AIDS lifestyle is a glorious evocation of pulpy whodunnits. Paradis plays Anne, a boozy bisexual auteur of gay porn who has recently snapped ties with her editor and lover, Lois. In a bravura move only a fool in love would attempt, Anne decides to mount a project so enticing that Lois has no option other than to swallow her pride and return.

Knife+Heart exhibits a refreshingly playful and affectionate approach towards all its characters, no matter how slimy they come across. Meanwhile, as production on Anne’s magnum opus nears its climax, the performers start getting killed off, one by one. “Yesterday, we came. Tomorrow, we die,” espouses one prospective murder victim. Truer words were never spoken. — AT