The concluding chapter. And not a damn minute too soon, with Revelation 2016 only a month away.
I finish not with a combo but with a double. After I paired off seven offerings from 2014 and 2015, I still had two movies from ’15 that I wanted to present.
The Duke of Burgundy is a strange love story set in an unnamed village. There are no clues provided as to time and place. Rural France circa 1942, perhaps, with the men all away at the war. Or in prison camps. But there’s not even an elderly farmer left to milk the cows. Let alone a squad of Nazis – who, had they been present, would surely have been led by one of those ‘cultured’ German officers who finds the barbarity of his countrymen all rather embarrassing.
Evelyn and Cynthia are the ladies in love. But here again, as with their village, learning more only deepens the mystery. Cynthia, the older woman, dominates Evelyn, finding fault at every turn. Punishments and humiliations must be applied. It is not Cynthia, however, who’s authoring the script of this unusual relationship.
The Duke of Burgundy explores the question of power, and where it resides. It’s strongly erotic at times, and there is some girl on girl action, but it’s far from being a porno. Even a high-class porno. As detached observers the audience moves through this couple’s life, left to deduce and speculate. Who is really in charge here? The balance of power is not as obvious as it first seems.
The Forbidden Room is just as disconcerting as The Duke of Burgundy. Guy Maddin’s first appearance at Rev is a late-night mindbender, mashing up lumberjacks, men trapped in a submarine, and instructions on bathing. And that’s just the stuff I remember. Oh, and there was a guy obsessed with female behinds.
The Forbidden Room is the sort of dream I’d expect after a full weekend at Rev, with a few visits to The Leedy between screenings. A vast cinematic canvas where the stories melt into each other.
How did that lumberjack get into the sub? And did he leave the boar’s head with Margo? Maybe another viewing will answer my questions.
No hurry, though. I want to keep my head clear for this year’s festival.