5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Stylish and Brilliantly Original
This is a film I had been meaning to see for a long time and wish I had not left it so long. It stars sultry, hunk, Brad Davis (`Midnight Express' and `Chariots of Fire') as the title character Querelle. He is a gay, sailor who arrives in the French port of Brest to do a drug deal whilst opportunistically being on shore and some random violence and sex if he feels like it...
Published 8 months ago by Tommy Dooley
2.0 out of 5 stars Wild Boys
An ambitious and original movie, Rainer Werner Fassbider`s "Querelle" is an interesting effort with some compelling moments but ends up being too flawed as a whole. This experimental release presents a surreal and dreamy mood that showcases Querelle`s (a marine played by Brad Davis) search for himself and his true nature. His search will lead to some risky relationships...
Published on April 10 2004 by gonn1000
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Stylish and Brilliantly Original,
This review is from: Querelle (Bilingual) (DVD)This is a film I had been meaning to see for a long time and wish I had not left it so long. It stars sultry, hunk, Brad Davis (`Midnight Express' and `Chariots of Fire') as the title character Querelle. He is a gay, sailor who arrives in the French port of Brest to do a drug deal whilst opportunistically being on shore and some random violence and sex if he feels like it and oh yes he does. He is also the object of unrequited love of the ships Lieutenant Seblon (Franco Nero who's had an amazing career just made `Django Unchained' and was in the original `Django' in 1966) who lustily watches his underling whilst recording his feelings on a Dictaphone.
All the action in the town seems to centre on a bar/brothel where the `host' Nono throws dice to see who gets to `have' whom. If he wins you are basically going to be on the receiving end of some pretty big man `bear' type action. Also Nono's wife is having an open liaison with Querelles' brother and on meeting it is clear they have a love / hate relationship which seems to centre around some sort of physical attraction. Things happen at a poetic pace that is almost surreal at times and this is all absolutely intentional as it builds to an ending that is written big, from the start, that will be tragic.
This is an adaptation of Jean Genet's book and as such was always going to be difficult to adapt, but if anyone could then it has to be the director here Rainer Werner Fassbinder(`The Marriage of Maria Braun' and `The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant'). This was Fassbinder's last film in what had been both a productive and illuminating career; sadly he died of an overdose of cocaine at the age of 37. He wanted to capture the mood of the book and so deliberately filmed everything on a studio set, at some cost, so as to be able to have the surreal orange sky and clearly painted sun in some of the more iconic shots.
Nearly every scene has some homo erotic element to it. The sailors all walk around looking like refugees from a Jean Paul-Gautier advert and quotes from the book are interspersed through-out to help uncover the character which is too complex to be adequately conveyed in the normal restrictions of a two dimensional film. The language is deliberately provocative and infused with sexual meaning as in the real intention of the `f' word. There is also tension through-out along with stylised violence and the use of fetish clothing to make the film feel even more unreal and removed from the ordinary. Even the cop is in a leather biker outfit; wish it was like that in real life, the arrest rates might go up a bit though. And the lighting is stupendous, this has been lit like a noir classic in places, couple this with the lingering sultry shots of Querelle looking both languorous and sexy just by standing there and the effect is one that is both intriguing and almost beguiling.
I watched this almost totally rapt at what it was supposed to be and what I thought a film should be but this was not complying to the norms. So I took a while to think of what I really had seen and it is so obvious that a director like this comes along so rarely that when you get the chance to see his work you realise that this is indeed something special.
2.0 out of 5 stars Wild Boys,
This review is from: Querelle (Bilingual) (DVD)An ambitious and original movie, Rainer Werner Fassbider`s "Querelle" is an interesting effort with some compelling moments but ends up being too flawed as a whole. This experimental release presents a surreal and dreamy mood that showcases Querelle`s (a marine played by Brad Davis) search for himself and his true nature. His search will lead to some risky relationships with a couple of his mates, presenting a movie that combines campy moments with some introspective and symbolic ones. What we have here is a film that explores human desire, narcisism, homo(sexuality) and seduction in an unique and peculiar way, even if the characters are too self-absorbed and the plot drags in many scenes. "Querelle" is too ambiguous and ethereal to deliver a convincing resolution, even if it delivers an unusual dark atmosphere with compelling settings and brilliant direction (the photography is also good, displaying excellent colours and textures). The acting is not very intriguing and the weird characters turn this into an unusual yet cold cinematic experience. Fassbinder presents some good ideas here, still this effort is to sparse and disjointed to become a solid movie.
Not bad, just too uneven to convince.
1.0 out of 5 stars sorry, this is not a good farewell for Fassbinder,
By A Customer
This review is from: Querelle (Bilingual) (DVD)It's very sad that this film became his last. I too love Fassbinder's work and Brad Davis is great, but you can't say that by watching this piece. Please see this after you went through all other movies from this master otherwise you would get wrong impression about his talent.
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's not get ahead of ourselves.,
This review is from: Querelle (Bilingual) (DVD)This movie truly made me rethink my pompous blow-hard nature: that is to say, I'm fanatical about Jean Genet, madly in love with Brad Davis, and I even MOSTLY like Fassbinder. But for some reason, I can never seem to get through the first half of this movie.
Jean Genet's forbidden story of Querelle was, simply put, never meant to be translated into a movie. The internal struggles of Querelle were too innate, too complex...to ever be categorized and flow-charted and minced down into two hours of a panel-by-panel film script.
Now, with that said, I think Fassbinder made an excellent attempt to put you right up inside the taboo story of our favorite murderer/hero. The scenery is luscious, the costumry finely detailed, the casting superb. Not to mention the delicious sailor booty of a certain leading man, Brad Davis.
Still, I find this movie left me with much to be desired. After the torrid affair of Querelle and Nono, I wanted to roll over and go to sleep (no underlying meaning meant). Even THEN, there was only so much tension up until that point, and the plot manuevering that Fassbinder undertook did nothing to appease me. For example, the lusty leiutenant who writes of Querelle in the novel, keeps, instead, a tape recorded diary. With any horribly tedious passages taken directly from the text. In terribly stiff monologues.
All in all, I rated this movie with four of five stars. It perfectly compliments any Genet collection and makes for wonderful ornamentation on your DVD shelves. But if you've never heard of Jean Genet or never saw a Fassbinder movie, you should probably buy a different homoerotic brothel-lined story of metamorphoses and love.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie!,
This review is from: Querelle (Bilingual) (DVD)I never expected this movie to be so dark and sexy. It looks like a screened comic book with flat stereotyped porn cliché characters in a violent gay storyline. It captivated me and made my night with my boyfriend quite better.
This movie is sexy, shallow and very dark. If you like gay films, this is a great choice.
Besides, Brad Davis is the cutest and sexiest guy ever.
5.0 out of 5 stars MASTERPIECE,
This review is from: Querelle (VHS Tape)A BRILLIANT MOVIE.IT IS BASED ON A GENIUS WRITER GENET'S BOOK,
DIRECTED BY A GENIUS DIRECTOR AND STARRING A GENIUS CAST.
4.0 out of 5 stars Rub a Dub Dub,
This review is from: Querelle (Bilingual) (DVD)First of all when you get the DVD version, you have the opportunity to watch the film as it was originally filmed - in English. Anyone who speaks French and can read lips knows that the film was dubbed into French (and not just bad sync-sound) - the film was later released back in the states with English subtitles under the French dub (talk about a triple threat).
I must say that I love this movie for tackling issues that 20 years ago were definitely still taboo in the mainstream. Although not a masterpiece in terms of plot development, I believe it stays true to the development of Jean Genet's characters - and of course the cinematography is stunning. Like watching a live action Tom of Finland cartoon directed by David Lynch at times... Wonderful.
1.0 out of 5 stars No wonder it was his last film.,
This review is from: Querelle (Bilingual) (DVD)I've been a fan of Fassbinder since my college days. I was hooked when I saw "The Marriage of Maria Braun", however Querelle was a big disappointment for me. I saw the VHS version some years ago, and wonder if this film wasn't the reason for Fassbinder's suicide (as it was his last film).
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Bizarre,
This review is from: Querelle (Bilingual) (DVD)Brad Davis is captivating as the sailor boy prostitute "Querelle" desired by men and women alike in this odd, yet gentle masterpiece. Clearly not for all audiences, the movie is dark and often harrowing, at times recalling other classic Genet adaptations, and occassionally, even the legendary "Midnight Express" which made Davis a star. Like the latter film, there are moments here that shock the viewer into action, perhaps fewer than necessary, and yet always mezmerizing and accomplished. Steeped in an aura of bright, almost unimaginable color, "Querelle" is one of those gay-cinema classics that deserves a place in an adult video collection (like "Taxi Zum Klo" for example.) Yet remember - this is a harrowing vision, and clearly not for every member of the family. Still, Davis is superb!
5.0 out of 5 stars Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves,
This review is from: Querelle (Bilingual) (DVD)There is no doubt that this is an unusual film, but one that contains several layers of meaning. Most of the content is symbolic and philosophic, but it is an interesting attempt at dealing with subjects such as narcissism, sibling rivalry, homosexual desire, jealousy and violence. Brad Davis' Querelle is a cipher, and he plays him as such, but his acting is quite remarkable. It is a shame he did not live long enough to give us the benefit of seeing him develop more as an actor. Jeanne Moreau is, of course, a formidable presence. This is a film that will only work for some people: being gay certainly helps. Rent it first and see.
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Querelle (Bilingual) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (DVD - 2001)