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Bertrand Bonello Films

A PLEASURE OUT OF THIS WORLD

Eulàlia Iglesias


Before becoming a filmmaker, Bertrand Bonello (Nice, 1968) was a musician. For years he worked as studio and stage accompaniment for singers like Françoise Hardy, Daniel Darc, Gérald de Palmas, Elliot Murphy and Carole Laure, the main character in one of his earliest short films, Le bus d’Alice (1995), as a rock star who abandons a successful career in Paris and flees to Montreal, the very city where he shot his first feature film, Quelque chose d'organique (Something Organic) (1998), a story on lost love starred by Laurent Lucas and Romane Bohringer. The movie starts with a couple engaged in a kiss before moving to another shot where a wife has just been assassinated by her husband. Subsequent scenes make no effort to explain what may have caused the crime, but attempt to show the process of disintegration of the couple made up of Paul, a practical man responsible for various dependants, and Marguerite, a woman who lets her instincts control her. Sketchy, dual (the first part of the movie reproduces Paul’s thoughts, the second those of Marguerite), more passionate than rational or psychological, Quelque chose d'organique follows the torments of Paul who, as many other main characters in French films, falls prey to the conflict between desire and will. Paul yearns to control his world but finds himself driven by more powerful forces (the fatal illness of his child, the authorities who do not recognize his father, the wife that is increasingly driven apart), while Marguerite, as she confesses to a priest, is in pursuit of an elusive pleasure, like the main characters of a later movie, De la guerre, (On War).
 
Not until Le pornographe (The Pornographer) (2001) is Bonello confirmed as one of the most interesting filmmakers of the new French Cinema. His second feature film is starred by a regular in his movies: the disoriented man who, in his own way, is isolated from the world in which he lives. This specific case is about a seasoned director of porn movies, Jacques (Jean-Pierre Léaud in another of his roles as a filmmaker trapped in the sixties-seventies), who understands his profession as a form of counterculture but who no longer finds his place in an industry that has converted sex into mere wares. Jacques wants his movie to be shot as though it were a hardcore Robert Bresson-like: he insists that his characters be inexpressive, films fixed shots, keeps the camera away from their private parts..., driving his producers to exasperation. Jacques’ displacement is not a mere question of age. Even his son, Joseph, does not fit in the society that no longer has any place for the revolutionary ideals defended by his father’s generation.

The isolation of the main male character in Tiresia (2003) is, however, voluntary. He remains indoors to contemplate the beauty of the transsexual he kidnapped. His desire is not quenched with a mere sexual intercourse but, as is the case of Paul in Quelque chose d'organique, his will is not sufficient to achieve the pleasure he seeks. Structured as a diptych with a series of parallelisms and repetitions between the two halves, the hinge demarcating the division between both parts is the mutation of Tiresia’s body, which changes its appearance from feminine to masculine. This transition is also an identifying element of Bonello’s films, which ignite the feeling of flowing in the midst of the metamorphosis, such as the lava inundating the initial planes of Tiresia. Most of Quelque chose d'organique actually explains the process between the two initial scenes, between the beginning and the end of love. While in what is presently his latest feature film, L'Apollonide (The House of Tolerance) (2010), transition occurs between two centuries, the 19th and 20th, in another dimension where life goes on completely isolated from the real world. In the preceding feature film, De la guerre (On War) (2007), the crisis-stricken film director played by Mathieu Amalric, Bonello's look-alike, called Bertrand, decides to abandon the maddening crowd to join an isolated group, the Kingdom, which has established its own rules and regulations for seeking pleasure. Born in 1968, Bonello represents a generation that feels impotent to take up the ideals and forms of life their parents fought for. In this Frenchman’s movies, this search for a common or individual happiness implies isolation from a society that shunned away from this goal after the various fiascos of the utopias of the second half of the 20th century.
Displaying all 7 elements
  • - ingridcaven copiar.jpg

    Concert d’Ingrid Caven

    Ingrid Caven, musique et voix
    Francia
    Running time: 106 min.
    Cast: Ingrid Caven (voz), Jay Gottlieb (piano), Alain Beghin (percusión), Sergio Armaroli (percusión)
    49 edición - Bertrand Bonello
    Bertrand Bonello
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    De la guerre

    On War
    Francia
    Running time: 130 min.
    Cast:
    49 edición - Bertrand Bonello
    Bertrand Bonello
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    L’Apollonide – Souvenirs de la maison close

    House of Tolerance
    Francia
    Running time: 125 min
    Cast: Noémie Lvovsky (Marie-France), Hafsia Herzi (Samira), Céline Sallette (Clotilde), Jasmine Trinca (Julie), Adèle Haenel (Léa), Alice Barnole (Madeleine), Iliana Zabeth (Pauline)
    49 edición - Sección Oficial Largometrajes Fuera de Competición; Bertrand Bonello
    Bertrand Bonello
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    Le pornographe

    The Pornographer
    Francia, Canadá
    Running time: 108 min.
    Cast: Jean-Pierre Léaud (Jacques), Jérémie Rénier (Joseph), Dominique Blanc (Jeanne), Catherine Mouche (Olivia Riochet), Thibault de Montalembert (Richard), Andre Marcon (Louis)
    49 edición - Bertrand Bonello
    Bertrand Bonello
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    Quelque chose d’organique

    Organic
    Francia, Canadá
    Running time: 90 min.
    Cast: Laurent Lucas (Paul), Romane Bohringer (Marguerite), Charlotte Laurier (Sarah), David DiSalvio (Georges), Richard Notkin (vigilante del zoo), Stephen J. Smith (padre de Paul), Mourad Mimouni (Ahmed), Simon Hete (Léo), Robert Warren (el prior)
    49 edición - Bertrand Bonello
    Bertrand Bonello
  • - tiresia3.jpg

    Tiresia

    Francia, Canadá
    Running time: 115 min.
    Cast: Laurent Lucas, Clara Choveaux (Tiresia), Thialgo Teles, Célia Catalifo (Anna), Lou Castel (Charles), Célia Catalifo, Fred Ulysse, Olivier Torres, Marcelo Teles, Isabelle Ungaro, Abel Nataf
    49 edición - Bertrand Bonello
    Bertrand Bonello
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    Where the Boys Are

    Francia
    Running time: 22 min.
    Cast: Pauline Étienne, Esther Garrel, Justine Douhailly, P’tissem Ayata
    49 edición - Bertrand Bonello
    Bertrand Bonello
Displaying all 7 elements