Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Borowczyk's Dr Jekyll et les femmes

Last night I saw Walerian Borowczyk's weird erotic horror film Docteur Jekyll et les femmes. The film is from 1981 and very weird indeed. It takes Stevenson's novel (Borowczyk claimed that he had found the original manuscript Stevenson's wife is said to have burned because of its erotic content) and takes the erotic aspects of Edward Hyde's behaviour to the extreme: he rapes and kills with his 35 cm long penis.
The film is very disturbing, because it celebrates the beauty of destruction at the same time it shows there's nothing glamorous in it. I was reminded of Luis Buñuel's The Golden Age: they both tell the same story of a man and woman who try to make love, but are always stopped by stupid rules and regulations or tepid discussions on metaphysics, religion and science. In the end, they both reach transcendence - but only through giving themselves up to lust, killing and raping. Very beautifully photographed, the film sure is one to stick to mind.
The film also reminds me of Guido Crepax's rendering of Stevenson's novel, but it lacks the political undertones of Borowczyk's film in which the world of bourgeoisie deserves nothing but the destruction.


Ville-Juhani Sutinen said...

- yes, oh yes... the contradictory and contrasted nature of the film's aestethics was like a reflection of the Jekyll / Hyde -dichotomy... again longer interpretation and survey of style of the movie as connected to Kubrick at my blog:


Juri said...

Kubrick didn't come to my mind, but I can see the connection - especially when I was all the time during the film wondering just who the General was. Borowczyk's film was also hilarious, I failed to make that clear, but it also added to the confusion the director clearly wanted the viewers to feel. From ridiculous to sublime, yes, from utter horror to the stupidest. It's clearly a surrealistic device to make up a film.