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Critics reviews
The Beast
Walerian Borowczyk France, 1975
It is a paradox from beginning to end. Like its revelatory though inevitable conclusion, the film would be tragic if it weren’t so bizarre; it would be wholly erotic if it weren’t so shocking; and it would be patently sexy if it weren’t so funny. As a keen provocateur and multitalented artist, Borowczyk knew how to be sensational, and The Beast, his best film, is an appropriately surreal and dazzling mixture of farcical humor and uninhibited sensuality, all with the logic of perpetual reverie.
March 22, 2017
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The film containing this preposterous zoophilic sexual assault fantasia is interpenetrated by it in every respect… The Beast‘s elegant, chateau-set mise en scène, its soundtrack, and even the very impetus for its production are all deeply beholden to this bizarre dream sequence’s profound irrepressibility.
June 02, 2016
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In this second part of the film, the continuity and correspondences established by the intercutting between Lucy and Romilda constitute a brilliantly structured elaboration of the idea of mirrored eroticism already mentioned. Ultimately, The Beast is all about the temporary madness of Lucy’s restless dreams and her fantasies of excess—a realm that not many filmmakers (even the best ones) would dare visit.
January 19, 2016
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Though more unnerving than scary, The Beast is still a must-see for those who are interested in euro-sex-horror from the era.
October 29, 2015
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Dubious upper-class mockery notwithstanding, it’s evident that the mere realization of this garish series of scenes was the real impetus behind The Beast, so boldly does its frenetic handheld camerawork and exaggerated detailing (the erect cock of the titular costumed figure alone is an absurd image that, regrettably, cannot be unseen) stand apart from the reserved chattiness of the film’s comparatively chaste first half.
December 05, 2014
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Why do I resent “The Beast” for compelling me to think about it? Borowczyk’s key strength as a filmmaker could be his desire to show us things we don’t want to see, and to show them in the plainest light. The perversions on display in “The Beast” have a laughable dimension to them, but its evocation of a sexuality whose exhaustion brings death speaks to some of civilization’s most enduring hang-ups.
October 21, 2014
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The beast’s heritage is finally uncovered, though the movie is itself a missing link, bridging Cocteau with the gonzo porn of Perverted Stories, illuminating not only La Belle et la Bête but also Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and King Kong. Beauty killed the beast, Borowczyk says, and erotic poetry freed the screen.
November 21, 2008
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