Nightmare (Bowling) Alley: Mazuy impacts with disturbing thriller
Every once in a while, a movie comes along that conceptualizes brutality in such shocking and vile ways that it provokes a visceral reaction among the most unfeeling members of the audience. What is a moment contained in saturn bowlingthe fifth film by the unique French director patricia mazuy, increases the shock value. Although more or less a creepy serial killer family thriller formatted with unexpected beats, Mazuy seems to be embarking on a new path of narrative fascination following his dark male-centric drama. Paul Sanchez is back! (2018), also with a screenplay by Yves Thomas (who wrote his most notable film to date, the one directed by Isabelle Huppert). the king’s daughters in 2000), which also focused on a male antagonist.
This bizarre tale of two half-brothers irreparably scarred by their father’s sins has suggested supernatural elements, but it’s more of a metaphorical version of how terror, trauma, and neglect form an inescapable maelstrom of misery. Strong performances and a tremendously enhanced Neo-noir grunge vibe by DP Simon Beaufils (Knife+Heart2018) suggest that Mazuy will break out of her arthouse cult status with this Franco-Belgian co-star, an angry retribution of violence against women with a crescendo of barbarism that truly feels like a shock to the system.
Armand (Achille Reggiani) roams the streets like a wild animal, sleeping in strangers’ cars outside a club he sometimes works at, Le Cargo. His half-brother Guillaume (Arieh Worthalter), a policeman, shows up one day to announce that his father has died and invites him to the funeral, but Armand refuses. His father was an avid big game hunter with an affinity for bowling, leaving his diving establishment, Saturn Bowling, to Guillaume. To honor his father’s memory and reconcile with his estranged younger brother, Guillaume offers Armand the opportunity to manage the bowling alley while he moves into his father’s apartment next door to him. Despite his reservations due to his hatred for the man who abandoned him, Armand accepts the offer, immediately causing a scandal when he demands that his father’s sprawling clan of fellow hunters, led by the outspoken Jean-Paul (Frederic van den Driessche), cease and desist from his frequent appropriation of the place. Meanwhile, the same hunters have been challenged by an animal rights activist, Xuan (Y Lan Lucas) in the media, and Guillaume foils a potentially violent confrontation, mainly because he is impressed by his beauty. As they explore a mutual romantic connection, the bodies of beautiful young women are suddenly unearthed in the local graveyard, with more corpses soon to follow. With a serial killer on his hands and Armand’s toxic energy distracting him, Xuan proves to be his only ally until his relationship with him compromises his safety.
Like Jennifer Kent with The Nightingale (2018), the overall conclusion of saturn bowling it could be overshadowed by a terrifyingly distressing depiction of sexual violence, which sends the latent threat of the first act into a traumatic stratosphere from which the audience never fully recovers. Initially following abandoned drifter Armand, Mazuy thankfully offers some respite by switching gears with Belgian star Arieh Worthalter (Girl, hunted), a more personable person who resembles Bradley Cooper when clean-shaven.
Bound to his father’s memory despite being cut off from his haunting obsession as a hunter, Guillaume isn’t exactly a nice guy but relatively fair. Although Mazuy cites Nicholas Ray, Park Chan-wook, and Nagisa Oshima as inspirations for saturn bowling, neither of those filmmakers reached the level of throwback set by the film’s first murder, where a sexual act becomes increasingly violent and eventually disgustingly grotesque. It’s an incredibly difficult sequence to watch, and if the purpose is to provoke audiences to consider the despicable reality of murder and sexual violence, then Mazuy certainly succeeds. Guillaume’s developing relationship with animal activist Xuan resembles many classic genre film tropes, a cop compromised by his attraction to a woman whose occupation contradicts his own professional ideals or survival skills (think Burt Reynolds and Catherine Deneuve in Robert Aldrich’s 1975 film, Hustle).
Since there is no level of retribution that can satisfy the necessary catharsis that the public seeks for Gloria’s murder, the outcome of saturn bowling it may seem like a kind of disappointment in its inevitability, but the general conclusion suggests relying on intuition, animal instinct often overridden by human sentiment or conditioning. By keeping the memory of a compromised or troubled past alive, as in the titular bowling alley that harbors a tradition of disreputable energies, Guillaume ensured the continuation of it. The past must be destroyed through refutation and revision, or else we are merely complicit as conduits of evil.
This eventually precipitates into the familiar realm of third-act serial killer resolutions while being compared to the hunting grounds of wild animals and women in the metropolis, ultimately suggesting that we are all humans haunted not by trauma, but because we continue to allow their strength as victimizers of the earth.
Revised on August 6 – Concorso internazionale. 114 minutes