La Bête Mar 10, 2016 9:40:10 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Mar 10, 2016 9:40:10 GMT -5
La Bête (1975)
Directed by: Walerian Borowczyk
Directed by: Walerian Borowczyk
Lucy (Lisbeth Hummel) has an intimate encounter with a bear in La BÃªte.
NOTE: This film was recommended to me by Zachary George Najarian-Najafi for "Steve Pulaski Sees It."
Walerian Borowczyk's La Bête is a seriously grotesque film, but unless you have the patience to make it through about an hour of glacially paced exposition, you won't realize why. In terms of going from zero to one-hundred in terms of plot-escalation, La Bête takes the cake with positioning itself like an ordinary, albeit slightly off-kilter, melodrama about an arranged relationship in a close-knit family, before becoming a zoophiliac's ultimate cinematic desire.
The story opens following the death of a businessman named Philip Broadhurst, who leaves his estate to his daughter Lucy (Lisbeth Hummel) with the only condition being that she be married to a man named Mathurin (Pierre Benedetti) by the brother of Pierre's uncle within the next six months. Despite Mathurin's mental deficiencies and deformities, Lucy still agrees to marry him, with her and her aunt Virginia (Elisabeth Kaza) taking a trip to the Pierre's brother's farmhouse. At the farmhouse, Lucy learns of a two-hundred-year-old fairytale about a beast living in the woods adjacent to the farmhouse.
For about an hour, we endure ostensibly neverending conversation between this enormous family-to-be, none of it really amounting to anything other than frustration due to the lack of human interest and a great deal of pointless sermonizing about family and the marital bond. It isn't until the hour mark that Borowczyk, also the screenwriter here, flips the switch and turns La BÃªte into something cruelly twisted. Without giving too much away, for much of the final thirty minutes of this film need be experienced, the film involves a dark, twisted dream sequence (or maybe not) of Lucy's intimate, sexual relationship with the aforementioned beast.
Borowczyk doesn't hold back in what he wants the audience to see in La Bête, so much so that he's willing to show us a bear ejaculating and performing cunnilingus on Lucy, resulting in Lucy enduring a series of bloody scratches. No taboo in beastiality is left untouched as the film details some of the most wicked sexual perversions you're likely to see come to life on screen in your life. Me being so young, I feel I have a ways to go, which only works to keep me up at night even more.
As an art film, La Bête is rather tasteful up until its final act. The film is nicely shot, with numerous, intimate camera angles taking the place of the predictable scuzzy aesthetic one would expect this film to have, in addition to having several nicely decorated sets and some solid exterior shots of the forest where much of this action happens. As a pornographic film, La Bête is most artful in a sense, but the porn itself is anything but erotic. It almost feels like shock value, especially when we must endure numerous closeups of a gigantic bear ejaculating repeatedly.
La Bête is a curious oddity, destined to gather dust on the seldom surviving, family-owned VHS stores where ultra-weird, almost unspeakable cult classic, and some just stopping at "cult," films precariously placed on towering shelves. I can almost envision an ordinary, black VHS tape with a color-faded, peeling white label with "The Beast" written in pencil, discolored and sun-damaged to look like simple hashmarks, sitting on the shelf looking unassuming and innocent but bearing quite the visual wallop. That's precisely what La Bête is; a visual wallop not for the faint of heart. I'm sure Lucy herself would say something similar.
Starring: Lisbeth Hummel, Pierre Benedetti, and Elisabeth Kaza. Directed by: Walerian Borowczyk.