Thursday, June 29, 2017

S & M: Les Sadiques (2016)

It should come as no surprise to anyone, but Alex Bakshaev has done it again!

I was first introduced to Alex and his work by way of his still stunning 2015 film, The Devil of Kreuzberg.

Also, much to my complete delight, he played Inspektor Lang in the very definition of if a moving painting was a short horror film, Tlmea (2016) - a short that happens to be directed by Kevin Kopacka. The same Kevin Kopacka who stars in Alex's latest film: S & M: Les SadiquesMy heart is made happy by the coordination of such talents.


This Lynchian art house thriller is not a friendly one. From the brilliant backdrop of the cold, wintery, nearly almost always night setting in bustling Berlin, to the standoffish (nearly heartless) interactions of all the characters, viewers may need a hug afterwards.

My first thought on the film was that it felt like a coming of age nightmare. The dreamy atmosphere felt as if someone was recalling a really traumatic period in their life when just starting out in the world. A period in almost everyone's life that is already uncertain, sometimes frightening, and - based on some life choices or equally unfortunate luck - is fraught with peril.

The story opens with a young woman who has run away and is looking for a safe place to spend the night and from there our young Marie unexpectedly finds herself under the wing of the lovely Sandra (from The Devil of Kreuzberg fame), who offers support and shelter. The women become close, very close, and then life happens and their worlds spiral into a hell neither saw coming.

There are several tales interwoven throughout the film. Tales of suspicion, jealously, intimidation, power, and deception. All these whispering stories build up together to form a massive tower that points directly at This Is Not Going To End Well.

As I said earlier, this is a dreamy film - not dissimilar from someone recalling a life they wish to forget or told by someone who is trying to recall an intense dream they had the night before. Supporting this dream world is a brilliant, misty and intense score, as well as a striking cinematographic land where realities intermingle with the dangerous mysteries of the heart.

This film creeps, crawls (sometimes on top of you), and then - particularly in the last few minutes - slaps you in the face and walks away. This is not a film for everyone, but if you are fan of art house horror (particularly anything David Lynchian) then I have no doubt you'll find yourself as fully absorbed as I did.

Please take a moment to check out the teaser!


Once again, a round of applause to all who helped make this film possible, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to see it! Best of luck to everyone on their future endeavors!

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