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Et Mourir de Plaisir (Blood and Roses)

by on Jun.24, 2010, under Daily Review

This is the rarest film of the week, Roger Vadim’s ‘Et Mourir de Plaisir’, which translates roughly to ‘Let me die in Pleasure’ (My French is not great) and it’s probably the most beautiful looking film so far this week, or month even. Vadim in my opinion is a God and a master of cinematography. He knows what looks good and how to captivate an audience and with Et Mourir de Plaisir, he certainly does that.  

The Carmilla storyline is a neat simple one here, and although set in France, 1960’s, the film feels and has a certain charm of the 1600’s, and dreamy light whimsical atmosphere with many scenes of countryside, a stunning masked ball gives an amazing feeling and connotation of French aristocracy and cake eating luxury. Carmilla (Annette Vadim) is taken over or possessed by the ancient vampiric spirit, eager to find exploit the living. Using her charms to manipulate Georgia (Elsa Martinelli) and Leopoldo De Karnstein (Mel Ferrer), whilst feeding on various victims. The vampire theme is reimagined here, with a beautiful scene of Carmilla gazing into a full length mirror as her heart pours with blood in her image. (I must mention also that the scene immediately prior to this has Carmilla and Leo falling for each other over a piano, which is a mesmerising scene.) Another interesting point is a young farm girl, brutally taken advantage of is later found in the morgue, crucifix still intact around her neck.  

But although the vampire thing is going on here, it’s not really like anything else. Carmilla seems distant at times in a subtle way as her possession longs for a real life, the touch and feel for love and desire, rather than an obvious craving for blood. Another visionary brilliance offers the viewer the incite of the mind of the victim in the form of a dream, as Geogia is lightly fed upon, she dreams with her own images watching over a surgery scene as Carmilla both doctor and patient performs a blood transplant.

This film is an experience to watch and one which will fill your heart and soul with emotion and carry the viewer through this beautiful journey. It’s peotic and amazing looking, credence to Roger Vadim for his visionary eye and the delightful looking Annette who is startling and enigmatic. A final note, the score (Jean Prodromides) is outstanding which sets the scene though every moment of this great looking film.

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