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Les salauds vont en enfer (F 1955, R. Hossein)

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BeitragVerfasst am: 28.04.2019 13:13    Titel: Les salauds vont en enfer (F 1955, R. Hossein) Antworten mit Zitat

gesehen am 27.04.2019 (Kino: Filmclub 813); 2/5

A cigarette butt getting passed from hand to hand is translated into spoons hammering away throughout a prison complex in morse code: either Macquard or Rudel, every single inmate is told, is a traitor. From the beginning, the prison is a space defined by rhythm and music. Later, a song sung by a black prisoner synthesizes the isolated faces behind the barred cell door windows into a fellowship of suffering. And when Macquard and Rudel, afraid of retribution by their fellow prisoners, decide to escape, their getaway (an expertly directed suspense scene, a perfectly calibrated arrangement of gazes and movements, order and its disruption) is both guarded by and scored to a church music performance.

They succeed in getting away. While wading through a muddy beach area, one of them is almost swallowed up by an invisible gaping depth - one of the very few scenes that play out a bit awkward, but in the end, it will have made perfectly sense. Because it tells us that they are already doomed before they even meet Eva.

In the prison, the women were confined to the imaginary, so they could stay brunette and true, while in reality they had already turned blonde and unfaithful. They even could be imitated, embodied in make-belief striptease shows performed in the prison yard. On the outside, Eva, the woman dominating the second half of the film, may start out as a picture, but she is also a bodily reality.

Though, at the same time, Marina Vlady's Eva is clearly a special effect. Her skin has a completely different texture than every other surface visible in the film. Sealed up and doll-like, but also possessing a plasticity that makes every other object feel flat.

Of course, both men are hooked right from the start, and jealousie ensues. But in the end, it is not so much about her actions, her femme fatale routines, about two men fighting and dying over a woman, but about two men encountering a woman, the first woman, Eva, and thereby learning sommething about themselves. An existentialist and psychosexual parable channeled through a stylish film noir plot. In a way Macquard and Rudel become two seperate, distinguishable beings only when confrontedd with Eva. Beforehand, they were tied to each other, both by external forces and by their mutual distrust. Now they realize they are free, because their desire for Eva opens up a moral choice: either act on it violently, or treat her as an equal.

Ironically, this new-found freedom also allows them to die together, almost happily: Now that we know Eva and therefore ourselves, let's walk away from the camera and coalesce with the beachscape. (Or rather: drown in Eva's quicksand?)
"Film is like a battleground: love, hate, action, violence, death. In one word: emotion."
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