Tag Archives: Yann Gonzalez

FÉLIX MARITAUD IN SAUVAGE

In SAUVAGE—a scathing dramatization of a male prostitute’s decline and fall—the underground hides in plain sight, in the parks and back streets of Strasbourg. Starring Félix Maritaud as a 22-year-old hustler with no name (in interviews, writer-director Camille Vidal-Naquet refers to him as Leo), the film conveys with blunt force and clarity the haphazard reality of a group boys who—by necessity or expedience—have become dazed spectators to their own abjection.

As it turns out, this sense of distance is a vital requirement for the job. In the sex trade, the worker’s ego and subjectivity are useless during business hours. Leo’s fatal flaw is that he’s looking for too much life in “the life.” In love with a fellow hustler (Éric Bernard, as Ahd), Leo also likes to kiss his clients (another taboo), and is both ageist and unwilling to alter his habits. The idea of settling down with an older sugar daddy is nothing he can entertain for long. And as he plaintively asks a doctor who has just given him a poor bill of health, “Why would I change?”

Unwashed, unfed, and unloved, Leo and his tricks come and go throughout the night. In a touch Cocteau would appreciate, one of the johns—an angel of death—drives a black Jaguar, his periodic appearance heralded by a haunting piano interlude on the soundtrack.

Maritaud—already a young veteran of queer French cinema (Robin Campillo‘s BPM and Yann GonzalezKnife + Heart)—breaks the mold with a performance that reaches an unshakable core of desperation. This exclusive engagement of SAUVAGE at the Nuart ends on Thursday.

SAUVAGE

Through May 2.

Nuart Theatre

11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

From top: Félix Maritaud in Sauvage; Maritaud (center) with two clients; Maritaud; with Éric Bernard (left); Maritaud. Images courtesy Strand Releasing.

AFI FEST — KNIFE + HEART

Each man kills the thing he loves… the coward does it with a kiss, the brave man with a sword. Oscar Wilde

The black-leather-masked murderer in Yann Gonzalez’s KNIFE + HEART—set in a gay porn milieu in late-1970s Paris—employs both methods.

With dialogue like “Okay, darlings, it’s business time. I want you all naked and stiffer than Giscard,” and a fluffer named Bouche d’or (“Mouth of Gold”), this psychosexual drama is a delicious heir to the camp exploits of John Waters and the thrillers of Brian De Palma.

The film stars Vanessa ParadisNicolas Maury, Kate Moran, Jonathan Genet, Khaled Alouach, Thomas Ducasse, Jacques Nolot, Romane BohringerBertrand Mandico, Jules Ritmanic, and Félix Maritaud.

Artist Simon Thiébaut and choreographer Ari de B (plus dancers) are also featured.

The film will premiere tonight in Hollywood at the AFI Fest, with an encore screening early tomorrow afternoon.

KNIFE + HEART

Friday, November 9, at 11:59 pm.

Saturday, November 10, at 12:15 pm.

Chinese Theatre

6950 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Yann Gonzalez, Knife + Heart, from top: Vanessa Paradis; Paradis and Nicolas Maury; Paradis (center); Félix Maritaud (left). Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, and Memento Films Distribution, France.