Screened as part of NZIFF 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