LFF Review: Knife +Heart

In 1987, at the tender age of fourteen, Venessa Paradis announced herself to the world with the single Joe le taxi. Two years later she was making a splash in her first film Noce Blanche. Both her music and film career has bubbled along ever since, but it’s probably her high profile and tumultuous marriage to Johnny Depp which she’s best known for now. She stars in Yann Gonzalez’s new film Knife + Heart.

Anne Parèze (Paradis) produces third-rate pornographic movies. She knows what she wants and can be ruthless when something gets in her way. When a relationship breaks down with her editor Lois (Kate Moran) she reacts by throwing herself into her work. Helmed by a friend and trusted assistant Archibald (Nicolas Maury) and supported by her entourage, Anne decides to make her most ambitious project yet: Homicidal.

Knife + Heart is a strikingly ambitious film but doesn’t feel like it has its own voice. Gonzalez dips his brush deep into Italian giallo without ever managing to paint a convincing landscape. Queer at heart, there are many elements thrown into the mix yet nothing really sticks. He doesn’t seem to even attempt to build up tension and the kaleidoscopic backdrops feels shallow and pure imitation. Knife + Heart seems to exist in a state of purgatory; neither confident enough to strike its own path nor intelligent enough to mimic a masterpiece.

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