Boring 70s male fantasies about, & insidiously trope-riddled ideas of, women, disguised as intellectualism. Or, worse, somehow woven in with some threads of intellectualism. Plays with formalism? Check. Otherwise self-referential? Check. Comments on some meta-element of narrative? Check. Must be profound? Bah. I call fraudulence. Conservatism of worldview, disguised as subversion. Not like Borges or Rivette at all.
'He now had only one question...what side of the mirror was he on?' De Gregorio's debut film as a director is a wonderfully scripted and oft-macabre affair featuring a trio of wonderful performances by the three female leads. Pisier, Caron and Ogier are perfectly cast here and the music score by Michel Portal is just perfect. An under sung gem bearing discovery.
A confusing, mysterious dream... Fantastic performances, especially from Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier. Beautifully shot with anamorphic lenses, the moody location and great use of light and colours add to the magic. It doesn't seem to exploit the opportunity by pushing the established theme further and fully commit to the surreal undertone - the second half looses some steam and becomes slightly repetitious.
it all began like a nice little mystery tale, but after a certain point the plot seemed to get crazier by the minute (in the WTF rather than WOW sense). the score stayed brilliant throughout, though. overall, the female acting was much more convincing than the dull male 'lead' - but the scene with the lobster should come with a warning for all the non-carnivores out there.
This is the first film directed by de Gregorio I have seen, though like many I am a huge fan of the Rivettes and the Bertolucci upon which he served as scenarist. In its functional concision, minimal means, and wily fabulations, this is not only wonderfully conceived stuff, but extremely well-realized. Less indebted to cinema's surrealism than literature's, SÉRAIL is like an André Breton ménage à trois fou.
In a series of decenterings on sex, property, class, gender-logocentrism, De Gregorio's tapestry of elisions in a closed milieu generates moderate visual pleasures and food fro thought, yet it is nowhere near other cinematic toyings with Borges. There are unexpected surreal confiscations of bourgeois etiquette and the barbarity it conceals but genuine cinematic vision is overall too self-referntial for its own good.
The ending, too abrupt. He was swindled, truly, brilliantly. But, perhaps, Surrealism is like that. A swindle. After the magic and desire and incredible images and imaginations, reality. The world reasserts itself in the sameness it is. The shutters are shut. The mansion of promised delights is just a decrepit huge old house without magic mirrors. I loved every moment of Surreal Estate.
Companion to several surreal French films of the 70s, Rivette's "Celine and Julie", Chabrol's "Alice ou la Derniere Fugue", Malle's "Black Moon". A poetic and gothic surrealism, labyrinthine, à la Borges. Worth watching for the magical performances of Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier alone, damsels (not so in distress). Mystery melds into hallucination into the phantasmagoric... A beautiful self-referential mess.
Logiquement très inspirée par "Céline et Julie vont en bateau" et "Duelle" de Rivette, cette petite aventure mystérieuse s'avère globalement plaisante, notamment grâce aux toujours excellentes Bulle Ogier et Marie-France Pisier, au décor labyrinthique et au travail sur les couleurs et les lumières. Mais en refusant de devenir résolument surnaturelle (sauf à la fin), l'ambiance ne décolle jamais assez... (3,5 / 5)