Thursday, 1 September 2011


Bertrand Bonello’s The Pornographer (2001) is a drama about a 50-year-old director who returns to his previous career making porno movies, a profession that originally come between him and his son. It’s a film where nothing really develops, the main character is uninteresting and the whole affair is boring. Far more interesting is his modern take on the Greek legend of Tiresias, the blind prophet of Thebes, who was famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years.  Tiresia (2003), written by Bonello and Luca Fazzi, tells the story of a Brazilian pre-op transsexual prostitute who is kidnapped by a man called Terranova and held as a prisoner. Starved of her hormone tablets she gradually loses her femininity, his interest diminishes and he dumps her body in an isolated wood. A young mute woman finds her and saves her from certain death, taking her to a place of safety in her father’s home. During her recovery Tiresia’s gender is suddenly reversed and she receives the gift of foreseeing the future. The film is divided into two distinct chapter’s, separated by a horrendous act of violence. The film stars Laurent Lucas (Lemming 2005) and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

Terranova is fascinated by his captive.
A somewhat complex movie that’s not always easy to understand, it leaves you questioning exactly what the director is trying to accomplish forcing you to make your own assumptions. Why did Terranova kidnap Tiresia? The reason does not appear to be sexual although he is obviously fascinated by transsexuals underlined by his long lingering stroll through the Bois de Boulogne, an area of woodland on the outskirts of Paris designated to transsexuals, prostitutes and their clients which doubles up during daylight hours as a recreation area for families and children! We note that the Priest in the second half of the film is played by Laurent Lucas who also play’s the kidnapper but are they the same character? Has the film been cast in this way to deliberately confuse the viewer? It also includes some obscure scenes involving volcanic lava, which brought to mind Malick’s The Tree of Life (2010) Even the ending has no explanation.  But I don’t mean to put you off of seeing this absorbing film, what I’m trying to say is that it gives you, the viewer, a chance to put your own interpretation on the what is portrayed on the screen.  Each of us will take something different from the experience.

Bois de Boulogne at night.

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