Wednesday, 18 February 2015

American Translation.

When we first see Chris he is leaving the scene of what we imagine is a crime and then drives off in his caravanette, which we discover doubles as his living quarters. Next we see him pick up a girl in a club and they go back to her flat where the girl strips off and they have sex but there’s no obvious attraction between the pair, other than a quick shag.  By the time we next meet him he’s sitting in an upmarket bar. At this stage we realise that he earns he living from playing roulette. It’s in the bar that he first see’s Aurore, who is sitting with her father, a rich businessman that she, obviously does not get on with. When she goes to the ‘ladies’ Chris follows her and they immediately strike up a sexual relationship that in time will lead them on a pathway to hell.  Its at this point the viewer, although suspecting that all is not well, is not quite sure were the film is heading but it not long before we understand that Chris, not only get his sexual gratification from the female form, but picks up young male prostitutes who we soon learn serve more than one purpose! Willingly joining Chris on his bisexual road trip is the little rich girl Aurore. After they decide to get a priest, who abused Chris as a young boy, to marry them the situation descends into pure madness with both enjoying Christopher’s dangerous sexual leanings! 
Aurore and Chris.
In the directors statement that come’s as an extra with the DVD he claims that the film highlight’s the intimacy of a serial killer including the killer’s relationship with both his victims and his girlfriend. He goes on to point out that in his movie, innocence is losing ground, the killer is an illustration of someone who has been through some traumatic experiences when he was in his formative years, giving as an example how he was abused as a child thereafter finding himself lacking any clear social bearing. Therefore systematic murders are the direct echo of the existential difficulties of our protagonist to live a normal life. The movie is not meant to carry a message, but to give its audience a chance to judge or form an opinion. I think the director meant us to see that Chris is totally without a conscience for the terrible acts he performs although he does come across as being charming, when he wants to be, but there is always an underlying evil within in his personae   He is obviously a very lonely person but even his relationship with Aurore does nothing to stem the tide of his brutal actions, in fact in my opinion she does nothing to stop him and could be accused of encouraging him? Loyalty and support can be expected from our partner’s but surely there must be a limit – or is there?
Its not just young ladies that turn our main protagonist on?

Both Pierre Perrier (Chris) and Lizzie Brochere (Aurore) had concerns about the roles they were expected to play in American Translation (2011) but both were involved from the initial script preparation up to the films final editing to allow each one to inject their own personalities into their roles. Research by co-directors Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr involved studying actual testimonies from different serial killers. The soundtrack, using several different artists, is very modern and certainty adds something to what we witness on screen. The acting is totally believable which gives this disturbing story somewhat of an edge. This adult thriller is very well photographed and the picturesque scenery is put to good use although it pales into insignificance against the on screen brutality.     

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