Posts Tagged ‘The Forest For The Trees’

Ha Ha, The Poisoned Bait

November 9, 2007

Brigitta
Directed by Nick Millard (as Nick Phillips)
1967

lakelia says:

This was an odd one. I could call it “bizarre,” but I’m not sure it was enough… enough whatever it was to merit that meaningful a word. At first it seemed to be just a mediocre older movie about a young woman whose boredom and unhappiness might be tiresome to watch (I thought of The Forest for the Trees), but not too far in it turned into a soft-core porn, and then belatedly became, of all things, a morality play. It told the mildly interesting story of a young woman in Munich who is swept off her feet (and enjoyably drugged) by a handsome stranger. After he convinces her to sacrifice her own morals and self-respect to help him pay off a debt, he proceeds to betray her with another woman. She takes this as a good reason to become what men want and expect anyway: a whore. (As in Malèna and Millie, the title character seems to think, “If being good gets you treated badly anyway, why not have the benefits of being bad?” Or maybe the motivation is more, “If I can’t make this injustice stop, at least I can deserve it.” That would be one way to escape the pain of knowing something isn’t fair.) Eventually, the friend Brigitta talks into joining her in her new profession contracts an STD and passes it on to Brigitta’s former boyfriend for revenge. And then Brigitta gets hit by a car.

Okay…

I actually enjoyed the way this story was told: completely through voice-over narration, accompanied by continuous jazz music, while all the “dialogue” between characters passed underneath it like a silent movie. Eventually I got so used to this first-person storytelling – like reading subtitles – that I forgot it was anything unusual not to be able to hear what was coming out of the moving mouths. The story started to plod, though, in the unreasonably extended scenes of watching the stripper from Strasbourg, and of the porn-within-a-porn that Brigitta and her friend watch together. I thought I had the measure of the movie when I saw how much attention these scenes got, but then the last twenty-five seconds made an abrupt (and very weak) attempt to send a message. Maybe the idea was to rope in anyone who likes such sinfulness as prostitution and pornography and then – bam! – let them know the price they too will pay. Or maybe the idea was to have the fun of prostitution and pornography and then do a little rationalizing for anyone who’s offended. Or maybe, I suppose, it wasn’t a message at all but just a tragic ending for a tragic figure.

Who knows.

 

I can say this for Brigitta: it’s nice once in a while to have something to compare the good stuff to.

lakelia’s rating: 1.5 Stars

bakinakwa says:

Brigitta is a film that I was initially attracted to purely for its cover, which, to paraphrase that old saying, is no way to pick a film.  I prefer to go into films knowing as little as possible – plot, personnel or otherwise – so as not to spoil anything.  In this instance, however, wow was that dumb.  This film is absolutely dreadful.  With the possible exception of a few shots of Munich citylife in the 60s, there is nothing to recommend this film.  For starters, there’s no dialogue.  The entire film is narrated by Elke Cole in voiceover against a backdrop of mildly pleasing lite-jazz.  The decision to forgo dialogue is especially bizarre considering that all of the actors appear to be doing quite a bit of talking during several scenes.  Perhaps all of the actors were chosen for their looks and had such horrible speaking voices that the director decided their dialogue was unusable.  I doubt it, but how else does one explain such a stupid choice?

Ms. Cole also acts in the film as the titular character, though I use the word act incredibly loosely here.  Mostly she behaves like someone unaware that she’s being filmed.  Her sex scene with Bize, for instance, amounts to little more than flopping around on the sofa like a dog when its human isn’t home.  For a film that puts gratuitous sex out there as a substitute for anything resembling a plot or characters, absolutely none of the sex scenes are even remotely sexy.  They’re not even titillating, they’re just boring.  I found myself waiting for the film to end halfway through, and that’s with a mere hour and one minute runtime.

To top it off, the ending is a completely bizarre and unexpected attempt at turning the film into a morality play of sorts.  Apparently, getting hit by a car is a perfectly normal comeuppance for turning to a life of prostitution, lesbianism, and drunkenness.  Or maybe it’s payback for having spread a “social disease” for revenge.  Whatever.

bakinakwa’s rating: 1 Star

Advertisements