Review: ‘Amer’

A tedious exercise in Giallo nostalgia.

A tedious exercise in Giallo nostalgia, Francophone slasher pic “Amer” is loaded with visual trickery but has a storyline as slim as a razor blade. Low-budget debut from helmer-writers Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani goes overboard in its mostly aesthetic homage to the works of Dario Argento and Mario Bava, with an impenetrable tale involving a little girl-cum-teenager-cum-woman, a haunted house on the Cote d’Azur, and way too many extreme closeups of eyeballs and body hair. Miniscule Gallic release (also in New Directors/New Films) should attract fans craving ’70s-style schlock.

With opening credits using exaggerated split-screen, the filmmakers set the bar either very high or very low, depending on individual taste. But with virtually no plot to speak of, and repeated use of shock zooms, jump cuts, monochrome filters and hissing sounds, pic mimics Giallo techniques while doing little more than touching on the genre’s usual theme of psychosexual evildoing. Widescreen lensing sumptuously captures the seaside locations, and the soundtrack is a mix tape of retro scores by Silvio Cipriani and Bruno Nicolai. French title literally means “bitter.”

Amer

France-Belgium

Production

A Zootrope Films (in France) release of a Tobina Film (France)/Anonymes Films (Belgium) production, with participation of Canal Plus. (International sales: Coach 14, Paris.) Produced by Eve Commenge, Francois Cognard. Directed, written by Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Manu Dacosse; editor, Bernard Beets; production designer, Alina Santos; costume designer, Jackye Fauconnier. Reviewed at MK2 Beaubourg 4, Paris, March 8, 2010. (In New Directors/New Films, New York.) French dialogue. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Cassandra Foret, Charlotte Eugene-Guibbaud, Marie Bos, Bianca Maria D'Amato, Harry Cleven, Jean-Michel Vovk, Delphine Brual, Bernard Marbaix.

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