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18 November 2009

Robbe-Grillet Born of Fire in the Black Pit of Dr. M

Check out DVDBeaver for my reviews of Mondo Macabro's excellent DVDs of Alain Robbe-Grillet's GRADIVA and Jamil Delahvi's BORN OF FIRE. GRADIVA follows the twisted adventures of John Locke (James Wilby, GOSFORD PARK) in Morocco researching the art of Eugene Delacroix and the nineteenth century artist's relationship with Leila or Gradiva, a slave girl executed for her affair with him. Soon, Locke is haunted by Gradiva in the flesh (Arielle Dombasile of Robbe-Grillet's BLUE VILLA) and tangles with the Club of the Golden Triangle who stage sado-erotic tableaux vivants for their customers. Very disorienting, very Robbe-Grillet. Some shots from his earlier films EDEN AND AFTER and SLOW SLIDINGS OF PLEASURE are integrated into the film making one hope for English-friendly releases of the two (EDEN AND AFTER along with TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS have received beautiful HD masters but SLOW SLIDINGS has been difficult to see in good quality since its release and never with English subtitles). In BORN OF FIRE, flutist Paul (Peter Firth, EQUUS) is drawn to Turkey by bizarre hallucinations coinciding with a solar eclipse and a volcanic eruption. With the help of a mysteriously-attuned astronomer (Suzan Crowley, THE DRAUGHTMAN'S CONTRACT), Paul searches for The Master Musician, a demonic djinn who plans to set the world on fire (literally) with his magic flute. Wonderfully photographed in Turkey with incredible found locations and some trippy visuals and a great score by Colin Towns (FULL CIRCLE, RAWHEAD REX). Also at DVDBeaver is my review for Casa Negra's DVD of THE BLACK PIT OF DR. M, a little-seen Mexican classic horror film about an asylum director's journey into the beyond.
Casa Negra is no longer in business but their excess inventory is being sold by Synapse Films. The sales links at the DVDBeaver reviews will take you to the new product listings so you can get new sealed copies at regular retail price rather than paying high prices for used copies.

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