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Friday, February 17, 2017

Elle (2016)

This is a very disturbing movie, which I am surprised wasn't among the Best Foreign Language film nominees.  I watched it because Isabelle Huppert is nominated for best actress, and having seen all the nominees, this is my pick to win that category.  She is astounding as a woman who is raped in her home, and then goes on to have a relationship of sorts with her rapist.  It is very difficult to watch and I am not sure I fully understand either.  She had a traumatic childhood, with a father who was notorious because he suddenly snapped one day and killed everyone in their neighborhood, then came home and had her help him start a fire with all their furniture.  Ok, that will mark you for life, and people were not sure that she herself wasn't involved in the killings.  She has a bitter relationship with her mother, who is no prize either, and problematic ties with her son and her ex-husband.  She is a successful video game maker, which makes her reaction to her own violence hard to untangle from her playing off the fantasies of young men, and so there is that angle as well.  Sexually very complex, and well depicts the unsettling relationship between sex and violence for some.  Well worth a watch, but be prepared.  Not easy going.

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