Casanova gets to know his new manservant, who will bear witness to his final days of life. Leaving a French château with its typical 18th century atmosphere of licentiousness, he spends his final days in impoverished, dismal northern Europe.
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This is the story of an aging Casanova who still retains a lust for the pleasures of life and, like Voltaire, scorns the norms of the time in which he lives. Bravo Serra for making such an unconventional, poetical and sensual film.
“He's a bigot abbot, but he writes magnificently” (appr. line from the film). My thoughts gliding upon the scatophilic sections in Pascal Bruckner’s ‘Lunes de Fiel’ were related: “This is as gross as total untaxed income, but the guy glass-blows muck into engrossing Tiffany lampshades!” Yet what a sad, crepuscular, Dickensian Casanova Serra’s is! Although marked by Enlightenment’s all-seeking tabu-crashing curiosity,
There is no need for us to dismiss the accounts of proud deviants who proclaim their bondage freedom, their pain pleasure. It is enough to know that freedom and pleasure are in every case fool’s gold, and that fool’s gold is the only gold we get. Still, we are allowed to laugh at it, to cry over it, to drink its blood, even to come all over its face. If that sounds like happiness to you, have at it, pomegranate.
The final forty minutes are quite arresting as is the quite wonderful opening sequence but what lies between is tedium. Much like the earlier 'Birdsong' Serra is a director interested in testing the limits of audience patience who has a certain visual flair that is marginalized by his lack of story/narrative. Kudos however to the digital camerawork of Jimmy Gimferrer.
What is it that the great men of enlightenment possess? Serra's film suggests that whatever it is, the camera can't necessarily capture it, and it doesn't necessarily translate across time. These are not only "great men." They are myth men. What does Serra's curious movie tell us about myth? It would seem to suggest that we are made dupes by myth, but that the ladies may be more sophisticated than we think.
Saw director introduce this and he is a very passionate dude! However, after the early promising scenes of Casanova eating and shitting it become too ponderous for my tastes (Imagine if TRASH HUMPERS were filmed at the Louvre) especially during the middle part once they go to the country. By the time Dracula enters the story it feels simultaneously like a parody of an art film and an underwhelming endurance test.