This file was generated 2002-06-09 04:23 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2001-12-23.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> December 2001 >> Querelle
One of my friends who had looked over my review selection noted that I didn't seem to like non-American films. I chafed at the accusation, but I fear that he might be right. For every Tampopo or Run Lola Run there's a Trainspotting or Like Water for Chocolate or A Zed & Two Naughts. Now I can add Querelle, recommended by the same friend, onto the latter heap. Although the DVD I saw was in English, no amount of dubbing would ever make me understand this movie. Querelle is populated with characters who never say what they mean, often because they refuse to admit even to themselves what they really mean. While this could be the start of an interesting character study, I didn't get any sense of enlightenment from watching them. I found Querelle sorely lacking in anything resembling dramatic tension. Dialogue and actions were so consistently contradictory as to render the characters incomprehensible.
Even if I try to treat this as one of those movies where the style is more important than plot or characters, I come up short. The set design, quite clearly intended to look like a dream, was only rarely of any interest. The score has only two themes, neither of which is very good. You can only hear so many rounds of "Each man kills the things he loves" before you don't need to hear it any more. Director Rainer Werner Fassbinder peppers the film with quotations from the source novel both on screen and as voiceover narration, rendering the situation even more senseless. If the interest is meant to be in the dialogue, something big was lost in the translation. I hate to be a philistine, but hearing the original might not have helped, either.