More than the shadow of Robert Louis Stevenson I see in mighty Borowczyk's JEKYLL re-imagining the specter of Alfred Jarry's Supermale. This is a Nietzschean parable about reactive forces becoming monstrously, deliciously active. It is a vaguely satirical comedy of manners. It is a story about better living through transcendental chemistry. The field of the erotic becomes a plane of blissful indetermination.
A rightly savage attack on moviegoers and movie studios, the emerging neo-conservatism of Raygun and Thatcher and the selfishness they unleashed, and probably Boro's fans who saw only porn in his alchemical puzzles. Like Showgirls, a mirror trap reflecting audiences thirsty for blood and sex to lap up in the dark before returning to tidy lawns and vinyl siding. Surely a touchstone for David Lynch and Matthew Barney.
Best of the Borowczyk films I've seen so far, but still has the cheap soft core porn that he loves so much. I think it also helps that he has solid source material from which to work. That really helps his story structure of course, which has been so sorely lacking in other films. But... then he almost wrecks it with his soft core crap. Ah well, Borowczyk will be Borowczyk, I suppose.
An engagement party swiftly sets the mood. An intense conversation ripe with double entendre followed by a series of mysterious and grotesque incidents. Dr. Jekyll is set free not just mentally, but with his physical transformation into Mr. Hyde. Terror reigns down within the mansion, including Dr. Jekyll’s fiancé Miss Fanny Osbourne. This tribute to freedom ends justified with love in the truest form.
What's to like here? A scenography that reminds the Hammer horror films and Udo Kier, the unqualifiable actor revealed by the "new German cinema". Besides the healthy not standardized will of extrapolation by the director, the film's construction is so clumsy, following the director's usual submission to eroticism - his (as a) mandatory trade mark - that in the end remains a feeling of an enfeebled experience.
Borowcyzk is no master of narrativity, and the set-up of the dinner party guests lacks the pay-off of 'The Beast'. Yet damn if he isn't a master of ambience, and this might be his most perfect synthesis of genre, arthouse and erotica that I have seen. The philosophy is glided over in favour of more animalistic sensuality. The result is sexually liberating (though hard to gauge) with a sublime horror score. Awesome.
I think this might be Borowczyk's best film. It arrives at all of the things that Stevenson's story was *really* about. I loved the dark romance between Udo and Marina, Parmegiani's score takes you to another place, and the final sequence is Burkean-sublime.
Walerian Borowczyk was a misunderstood film maker,whose remembered as a soft porn director,rather than one of films most original artists.In this version of Dr Jekyll,he blends Stevensons original Freudian idea of the beast with-in,with a De Sadean sexuality.A sexuality not only to be found in Jekyll,but also in the beautiful Miss Osbourne.A disturbing film thats both violent and erotic,with a haunting soundtrack.
Lurid exploitation meets art-house exploration, blending slasher movie tropes & soft-core sexuality with deeper philosophical questions regarding social identity, transgression & the 'beast within.' The atmosphere is evocative of the adult fairy tales of Argento, such as Suspiria; the combination of the baroque & the brutal proving Borowczyk's direction no less beautiful & atmospheric. A mesmerising &unsettling work.
A fine exemplification of boundless cinema. Hilarious, disturbing, beautiful, so lush. That cast! Those costumes! That score! This is the first feature I've seen of his, but as far as I can tell, it clearly reflects his early short, RENAISSANCE, a cyclical motion of ecstatic, cathartic self-destruction. Smells like fellow ex-pat Żuławski, but more Vermeer than Bosch. Daniel Bird is genius, THANK YOU!