Claire Denis’ new film, Trouble Every Day, is the culmination of everything that’s been happening in the horror genre for the past nine decades. Here’s why.

Words: Paul Dale

orror moyics did not cxist bcforc l‘I‘cud.

llort‘or stoI'ics did. of coursc. .\'o ottc‘s

claiming that thc gothic noycl docsn't prc-datc Sigmund. but it was l'i'cud‘s work on the uncanny. finally complctcd in thc l‘)2()s. that turned filmmakers onto morc horrific delights. Okay. this may be a bit of a broad swccp. but much in the same way that the first and worst of the great PR mcn. lidward Bcrnays (Freud‘s ncphcw). uscd his unclc’s teachings to dumb down a gcncration of Amcricans and turn them from protcstcrs into consumcrs. so thc carly pionccrs of the horror gcnrc recognised the rich rewards of tapping into our unconscious fcars.

()nc of the carlicst crcditcd horror moyics. Thomas lidison‘s I'i‘unkt'nsu'iii (1910). would hayc bccn untouchcd by l‘rcud‘s work. but from .\r'us_'/i'rulu ( 1932) onwards thc drip cffcct of his writings can bc felt in all thc grcat horror films: abjection. thc supcrcgo ycrsus thc id. dcath. To put it anothcr way: cincma pltis psychoanalysm cquals horror.

After a long wait ('lairc l)cnis' 'I‘mulilv Iz‘t't'ry Day finally gcts a rclcasc this month. At first glance the film sccms littlc morc than a wcird ychiclc for lirancc and Amcrica‘s kookicst stars Bcatricc l)allc and Vinccnt (iallo. with its slow pacing. minimal dialoguc and mixcd metaphors that alludc to cannibals. wcrcwolycs and yampircs. plus a title dcriycd from a Frank Zappa song. All thcsc pi‘csumptions arc wrong. Trouble lii'r'i'y Day is thc culmination of cycrything

‘Cinema plus psychoanalysm equals horror’

Trouble Every Day, a love poem to madness and desire

that has been happcning in this gcnrc. l.ikc (‘octcau‘s ()l‘/)/I(’(’ I)cnis‘ film managcs to combinc thc sacred and profane whilc kccping thc structurc of a cincmatic pocm. a loyc poem to madncss and dcsirc

and how when thc two arc combincd a sense of

‘unbalancc‘ and bctrayal can only follow. Bascd roughly on one of Dcnis’ childhood dreams

(of bcing smothcrcd with bites and kisses by hcr

mother). as well as a tcxt from the work of thc grcat 1968 Nobel Prize winning writcr Yasunari Kawabata. thc film tclls thc story Shch ((iullo) and .lunc (Tricia Vcsscy) Brown. ncwlywcds honcymtmning in Paris. Shanc is a tormcntcd man. fcarful of making loyc to

his wifc just in case hc litcrally gnaws thc face off

her. In Paris hc scarchcs for Leo Scmcncau (thc cxccllcnt Alcx Dcscas). a scicntist with whom hc did

somc unspccificd cxpcrimcnts in thc jungles of

(luinca harncssing thc human libido. 'l’hcir work togcthcr lch Shane and's wifc. (‘orc (Bcatricc I)allc. looking morc fcral with cycry framc). with a wild scxual dcyiancy that always concludes with the cannibalisation of their scxual partners. Shane wants to protcct his wife from his illncss which mcans dcstroying the link bctwccn him and his past.

l)cspitc this slightly ludicrous summary. thc film is not somc silly cxposition of thc scicncc ycrsus naturc dcbatc on sex and yanin but an clcgant and horrific loyc story that qucstions dcsirc and thc biological. cmotional and chemical clcmcnts that driyc it. ()nc can‘t hpr fccling that l‘rcud. wcrc hc aliyc today. would hayc maybc stoppcd playing with his bcloycd dog fora momcnt to dcclarc his loyc for a film that cncapsulatcs so much of his writings on thc scxual and thc social. ()r maybe not. Who carcs. no onc rcads l‘rcud anymorc anyway.

Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 27 Dec; GFT, Glasgow from Fri 31 Jan. See review, page 33.

Rough cuts

Lights, camera, mistletoe, acnon...

MONTHLY St {ORT Flt M showcase for local talent organised by Edinburg.h Medrabase. The Blue Hoe"). Is; throwing a festive bash at tdir‘burgh's Cameo einerna on Monday to December. The Big Blue Room Christmas Special wrll feature the best of the past year of Blue Room screenings. S'Iikely there‘il post screening drinks Hi the lllC‘lh’ll‘, Carneo bar.

IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME AND there’s no need to be afraid. Because you can get into the holiday spirit by watching some great Christmas movies. Edinburgh’s Filmhouse is screening a season of classics from Monday 16 December through to the end of the month. Feast your eyes on: Doctor Zhivago, King Kong (the original), His Girl Friday (now ya talkin’), North by Northwest (whoop, whoop), Singin’ in the Rain, Some Like it Hot (Rough cuts does), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (been there recently, put a ring on a girl’s finger), Bringing up Baby (that’ll be next) and (you’ve got to take it

Feelgoodest film ever

off for the Filmhouse) Top Hat. Over in Glasvegas the GFT runs three Ealing comedies, Whiskey Galore! (!!!), Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers from Friday 27 December and the Christmas movie to rule them all, the evergreen It’s A Wonderful Life (Friday 13-Thursday 24 December). Showing that Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart classic has become something of an institution back in Edinburgh at the Cameo, which cinema also screens the ‘feelgoodest’ film ever from 13 December.

BRING IN it it NE\.'.’ YEAR \‘yttH what could be one of 7003's best trims. the Brazilian thriller C .". 0" (Foo. winch will be nrexre-xzed at t"e Ca'neo \‘t’C-(lnesdaj. 7. anu the (il l. ll‘-t:i:;<1ay 2’ January. WRITER AND BROADCASTER Mark Cousins will be in conversation discussing his BBC TV programme Scene by Scene and the new companion book to the series at the Filmhouse, Saturday 21 December. Cousins will be signing his book and there will also be a screening of Singin’ in the Rain.

.‘x .‘ .‘ .J.t" I4 THE LIST 31