Thursday, January 29, 2015


AMER (2009)
Directors: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Writers: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Stars: Cassandra Forêt, Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud, Marie Bos

I love the work of Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani. It just makes me so very happy. It's exciting, visually stimulating and mentally challenging on many levels. It's not "light reading" material - you're not going to just toss it on as filler. However it ticks off so many boxes and works on so many levels that I think the films are very re-watchable and highly entertaining if you like the style.

We're talking very Bava, Argento (early Argento) giallo style films with lots of curious scenes and some wondrous, dream-like cinematography.

AMER is the story of a girls life. But, not an ordinary life. Not an ordinary film, either. It's a film in three parts, looking at her life as a child, maturing teen and a woman. Each section is handled in a stylistic way and each could be looked at by itself or as the full set.

Cassandra Forêt plays the young girl in the first section. This area has a very Argento feel. Something is going on in the girls house and the mother and father chat in whispers while the grandma deals with... something...downstairs.  The girl peeks through keyholes and ventures out to investigate and things get very, very strange and creepy. I think this was my favorite section. It has very little dialog, but a rich storytelling that I enjoyed a lot. Creepy shadows and characters bump around the old house and creep about creating a fantastic, gothic feel with strong, Suspiria-like fantasy tones.

Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud plays the adolescent girl in the second section. This was the most normal section of them all and really just shows the girl getting ready to venture out into the world and away from her mother...and towards men. This section, too, has very little dialog if any at all and is shot in a wondrous style similar to a Milo Manara comic (...without so much sex and nudity, mind you :::grin:::)  Emotion through eyes and lips and actions.

Milo Manara's style seems present

Marie Bos enters as the adult and ventures back to the house where we saw her as a child. The place is a rundown, older home now and is in disrepair. She explores in shadows and something or someone eventually starts shadowing her. More giallo than fantasy horror, this section is also shot beautifully and has some grand, bump-in-the-night moments.

All three sections play like a separate film, but all three work wondrously together as well. While the second section drifts away from horror,  it still works well to show the development of the woman. And I found all three sections to be visually stunning.

As I watch more of the Directors works, I can see that the style is basically the same with their work, but this works for me because I love their style. :)

If you like visuals, arthouse films, the early works of Dario Argento and Italian giallo mysteries, seek this film out.

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