Thursday, April 6, 2006
Directed by Louis Malle
Written by Malle, Ghislain Uhry, and Joyce Bunuel
Starring Catherine Harrison, Therise Giehse, Joe Dallasandro.
Louis Malle had the ability to make movies about the strangest subjects. Le Souffle au Coeur was a warm gentle comedy about incest. Lacombe, Lucien had as its hero a Nazi collaborator. If his Pretty Baby were made today, it'd be classified as child porn. My Dinner with Andre famously shows nothing but two people talking. But Malle had the ability to take these awkward subjects and make fascinating films about them.
Black Moon was his last film before leaving France for the US (and eventually marrying Candice Bergen). I wish I could tell you what it is about, but I don't think anyone knows, not even Malle. The plot, such as it is, shows a young woman during a time of an unnamed war to takes refuge in a farmhouse. She meets the inhabitants: an old woman, a man, and a unicorn. There's very little dialog and no explanation of anything.
But the film has power. It's more like a poem than a story, with images and scenes that have stuck in my mind for 30 years. Most notably, there was the unicorn, a Shetland pony with a horn, really, who bobs around mysteriously. The final image, where the girl nurses the unicorn is one of the most memorable in film.
Not for everyone, of course, but if image and mood are important to you, it's fascinating.