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New Cinema Wallpaper of the Day
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So a little while ago this film debuted at TIFF ‘08 Midnight Madness…
Frederic Ambroisine has an exclusive and very insightful mini-documentary on Martyrs with English subtitles (available here). For any fans of the film or those dying to see it, definitely check this piece out.
I only get upset at popcorn torture horror films that exist for a quick loud noise scare, gore with no context or emotion, to which I’m not a fan of and this movie is certainly nowhere near being a part of. I must really say that Martyrs is NOT a torture porn film and it’s NOT just another mindless horror film, simply put it’s one of the best movies ever made. For 90 plus minutes it’s the most spell bounding and transformative horror film I’ve ever seen. I felt like Heaven and Hell brushed my eyes and danced with my soul as I watched it. Like the film Ikiru it hit me deep inside in ways that aren’t easy to describe in passing, which is saying a lot for any horror film. It really will take 5 years for this film to sink in and really figure its place in the cinema history, but I can’t think of a more divisive and conversation generating film this decade than this one. We really need to get past all the over hype of so many proclaiming it the most extreme film ever made to realize that it’s not the most extreme ever made and shouldn’t be the way anyone walks in expecting it to be. It’s an unrelenting film with some strong violence and very dark themes, but it becomes much more than that in ways you wouldn’t expect a horror film to. There are some deep routed and centuries old philosophical unanswered questions in the mix here that get passionately discussed in very soul searching fashion. Those simply looking at the film like its exploitation may just avoid this layer of it all together and jump on the fact film can never be art and only made as commercial entertainment, which is always the true artists quandary to create beautiful works that are introspection’s on their view of life, love and existence, but as beautiful works of art and no regards for commerce or commercial considerations. It’s a dark dark film but I love where it takes me and challenges me. Just when you think French cinema cannot offer any new depths and heights in horror, this film raises that bar to a place that may never be equaled or sadly ever fully appreciated.
Seems interesting that recently I was just discussing the ending of Funny Games (the anti-film film aka the anti-genre film) and its overall subtext of where do movies existence stop. Where do films stop existing after their end credits? Can a movie in some form or way alter your reality or change something about you for better or worse and to a certain degree take on an existence with who you are. My personally, I think the best movies ever made find bridges into our hearts and soul that guide us like the same kind of fate that makes us to be a second late that in turns causes us to avoid a deadly car wreck. Martyrs works like the hands of fate, illuminating existence and transforming daily life perception. It makes one look at the sun and stars at night with new meaning. It’s a horror film for the ages that dares to be transformative and go for something more. There is blood and violence and unrelenting narrative that thrusts you deep inside a layer of hell cinema really hasn’t gone into like this before. What is it digging for and what are its underlying themes? To say anymore would simply spoil everything. This is a film to know as little about as possible before stepping in, while realizing at the same time if dark films or films with violent content aren’t your thing… then more than likely you should stick with something else. For those daring, already jaded or want a horror film to shake things up, then Martyrs is the only film you need to see this year. I wish I could say more and really discuss it further, but to ruin any part of this film would be absurd (as many online already have).
I should also note the The Bird with the Crystal Plumage shot in the film is hands down amazing. I’m sure not everyone will catch this moment, but for those that do its an amazing riff on something Argento did that expands it out in a very incredible way.
::: Xavier Gens on Martyrs – from when I interviewed him at NIFFF
::: Previous Movie Wallpaper (Cinema is Dope)
::: Colin Geddes on just how scary Martyrs is – Midnight Madness Blog
::: Rodney Perkins Review – Twitch
::: Rodney Perkins Interview with Alex and Willie Cortez – Twitch
::: Todd Brown Review – Twitch
::: Discussion among several in Cannes after its market screening (including Karim Hussain) – ZONEBIS
::: More Cannes Reaction (Video) – FilmsActu
::: And More Reaction from Cannes (Video) – EXCESSIF TV
::: 3 clips of the score
Official stills that were used in the original international release of the film.