Friday, March 1, 2013

Baby Blood

Japanese horror films reveal a lot of angst about children and families.  I haven’t watched enough French horror to make a sample, but Baby Blood may be an indication of the same.  I would add that it presents a very dim view of men.  The film also gives us a grand global backstory.  As the credits role we get a voice describing the beginning of life on earth. 
In the beginning, the earth was no more than a cooling star.  It was covered with hideous vegetation and grotesque gargoyles, all of them fighting for sustenance beneath the star speckled sky.  It was then that the first life forms appeared, somewhere around the forgotten edges of a forsaken hole in Africa’s swamp and all those life forms started to reproduce, all but one.  For me, only one thing was needed… to be born. 
If that sounds incoherent, it is.  Yet it has resonance.  If “us” means all life descended from a common ancestor, is there something other than us? 
Emmanuelle Escourrou plays Yanka, a young woman who works in a circus.  Escourrou has a superb face for this kind of cinema.  She has a kind of Natassja Kinski vibe going for her, if she is a bit filled out for that.  Her teeth are set apart, which makes her appear rather homely in many shots.  Still, she is alluring.  
Yanka suffers the brutal attention of the circus owner, Lohman.  A truck arrives with a new animal, a leopard.  The other cats are very disturbed by the new arrival.  In short order the remains of the leopard are discovered, exploded as it were from inside.  While Yanka is sleeping, a phallic worm finds its way to her and penetrates her.  She is impregnated by a monster. 
Her baby talks to her, mostly about his need for blood.  A string of goofy no goods will line up to play the victim.  If there are any good men in France, they don’t show up.  

Baby Blood is worth watching, if you are a horror fan.  The dialogue between Yanka, increasingly exhausted, and her Gollum like embryonic possessor is pretty clever.  Unfortunately, the story line after she leaves the circus is pedestrian.  Still, there is a good idea here.  What if there are two distinct lines of life on the earth, competing for mastery?  That is worth another movie. 

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