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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 4 November 2012
This Region 1 release is one of the best from tla releasing, I think - I don't know why they haven't given it a Zone 2 release as well (the same is true of the Danish film You Are Not Alone, which is also amazing). Even so, both play on my computer, but of course this isn't guaranteed ... As to the films on this DVD: both deal with youthful uncertainty about sexuality, but take quite a different approach. The American 'Vanilla' is a bit pretentious in its psychological horror ambitions, and in some scenes rather portentous as well, with a slightly overbearing score. Nevertheless it does have its moments, is sexy in places, and has a very hot lead actor (called Ryan Allen) who certainly makes you want to see him take the plunge ... his face is very expressively caught in various states and the whole film carries quite an erotic charge, even if the strangulation motif gives a sense of menace and unease as well. I'm not sure I've completely understood it after two viewings, but this is probably intentional ... Better by a considerable margin is 'Juste un peu de reconfort', a French film of startling intimacy that shows a teenager's crush on his best friend, who is basically heterosexual, but not completely ... the film gets quite a lot of depth into its 39 minutes, even while including quite a lot of scenes where characters are listening to music or in clubs - the dialogue is telling, but its main means of expression is physical, as if the director wants to take you inside the head of 16 or 17-year-olds. In this he succeeds quite brilliantly, like an Eric Rohmer of the physical rather than the verbal. Both films have particular scenes and details that I find very pleasing involving some quite subtle fetishising of clothes etc - perhaps this provides another link and may explain why it is feared the British censors may be a bit sniffy about it? - Up till now nearly all tla releasing films have had a 15 certificate, but really there's no reason why this one shouldn't have one too - it's far less shocking than their recent Our Paradise (18 cert.) - and much better!
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on 31 December 2014
very good
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