On Monday I finally got hooked up with Cable TV after a few years without it it due to the high cost and my limited budget. It’s been well worth it thanks to all the channels I can now get, especially TCM, which is currently hosting a fabulous Louis Malle birthday bash and showcasing a lot of his films.
Last night I watched Murmur of the Heart, which is one of my favorite Malle movies, along with the director’s impressive Black Moon. Black Moon is a beautiful experimental film that I had never seen before and I really enjoyed it. It was categorized as a horror movie on TCM but I personally thought it was more of an adult dark fantasy that defies easy categorization.
Black Moon follows the misadventures of a pretty young girl named Lily (Cathryn Harrison) who is caught up in a violent civil war between men and women, which seems to take place in a dystopian future. She finds herself at a mysterious house that belongs to a strange old woman and a beautiful sister and brother played by Alexandra Stewart and the wonderful Joe Dallesandro. The film has no clear narrative structure and Malle uses his own kind of dream logic to tell this mesmerizing tale. As I mentioned way back in February, I love the way that Malle explores the complex and often conflicting emotions of young people in his films and Black Moon is no exception. Malle delves deep into Lily’s subconscious without reservation and we’re offered an intimate look at the inner workings of her young mind. As the poster suggests, the film plays out like a somewhat more adult version of Louis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland where talking unicorns appear and flowers weep when they are stepped on. Cathryn Harrison is very good as Lily and as usual it was impossible to take my eyes off of Joe Dallesandro every time he appeared on screen. Dallesandro really looks amazing in Black Moon and I only wish he got a little more to do in the film.
Black Moon was shot at Louis Malle’s French estate and the grounds are rural and wild but also extremely lush and lovely. There’s an intimacy to the film and an almost claustrophobic feel at times, which is probably somewhat due to Malle’s closeness with the location. It’s a really fascinating movie from one of France’s greatest filmmakers and it is a shame that Black Moon is currently only available on PAL Region-2 DVD at the moment.
– A brief piece about Black Moon at Moon in the Gutter with a clip from the film.
– You can also find a great piece about Joe Dallesandro at Moon in the Gutter which was just posted today.
– A nice write-up about Black Moon by Jeff Stafford at the TCM site.