菊花茶 (juhuacha) wrote,
菊花茶
juhuacha

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Das Parfum (spoiler alert)

Last autumn I spent about a month wandering around Europe and while there, a poster for "Das Parfum" was up everywhere. The red hair and position of the woman are striking, and the image was impressive enough for me to want to go see the production. But for some reason I thought that it was an opera, and didn't realize that it was a movie (at the time). Of course, I get back to Beijing and after watching, I realize that it would have been both a blessing and a curse to have watched it while I was in France. A blessing because the environment would have been perfect, a curse because I would have gone out and bought a perfumerie kit immediately. Not that I would have started boiling women in water or anything, but its another wacky hobby that I just really don't need at this point in my life. (When I'm an eccentric bluehair someday, maybe).

This film isn't a typical "art house" flick, and I hadn't even realized it was considered one until I was talking with my friend, Marisa, about the film. But, then again, I didn't realize it was a film in the first place, so we really shouldn't be that surprised by my ignorance on this issue, eh? ;) Either way, the cinematography is amazing, the vivid colors almost make you feel like you can smell everything being discussed as well... I myself have a particularly sensitive nose, so it was nice to know that there are others who can understand my affection for scents (and why I'm so offended by body odors).

But beyond the visual beauty of the film and the redheads within, there's also a kind of beautiful depravity as well. Its beautiful because it is innocent. There is no perversion involved with the deaths of the women, they are simply the means to an end in the young man's mind. Orphaned as a baby, he grew up in an environment that had no morals, and certainly didn't value life, so when Jean-Baptiste killed the first young girl by mistake, he does not feel shame that he has killed her (nor pleasure for that matter) but is more concerned with her scent, and the desire to consume her through his nose. This scene only becomes sexual for him upon reflection years later.

Of course there is the typical corny English accent to be found everywhere throughout the film, even though half the actors have American accents and the film was supposed to be taking place in France in the first place... (sigh). I would have preferred a French or even German version of the movie with subtitles over the lame cockney accent. This doesn't really detract from the movie as a whole, and Alan Rickman's voice is as sexy as ever, so if I have to suffer through the bad accent-age of the other actors just for him, well, its worth it to me.

Has anyone else seen this movie? Any thoughts about it? More importantly, has anyone read this book? I heard that the book differed from the movie a wee bit, and I'd be interested to know if it would be worth it to find a copy of the book. The story is nicely done in the movie, not as predictable as you think it is (still vaguely predictable), but it had a poetic ending that was reminiscent of hispanic magical realism. My main point of interest in the film is that its "the story of a murderer" and I never felt that twinge of fear/horror over the deaths. I remember wondering if it was necessary to actually kill the girls, maybe the scent would have come off them if they were alive as well. Maybe reading the book would have me understand it better.

Also, for those of you who live in Beijing: I went to the "Inside the Whale" restaurant last week with Paul (this is one of those dark restaurants, where the waiters have night vision goggles and you're left stabbing at the dark for your food, very cool experience, though not sure if I'd do it more than once) and I thought at the time that their menu visuals were really amazing and above standard Chinese restaurant levels. Of course, now I realize that its the American movie poster for Perfume (see rose/woman image above). I am amused.
Tags: das parfum, movie, perfume, review
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