I spent a great deal of my youth not watching what everyone else was watching. Ergo, I missed many of the movies that were the zeitgeist of the 80s and 90s. And one of those films was Se7en. Remember Se7en? With Brad Pitt? And Morgan Freeman? “What’s in the box?” That one. I had, as one does, heard just about everything that happens in that film (grossness) but I figured it was time for me to experience it, finally. Though the city that this takes place in is never named, I decided that it was the same city the movie Delicatessen takes place in. The set directors must have had a glorious time make all that flaky paint and peeling wallpaper. I would have had a blast. (Some of these shots are Delicatessen and some of them are Se7en. I wanted to jumble them together to show you how similar they are in decrepit interiors.)
I was astonished at how not squeamed I got watching this film. I knew about sloth and how that was portrayed so as soon as I saw the air fresheners all over the ceiling I covered my eyes with a hearty NOPE because I don’t need those memories of Crusty Bed Dude. Other than that I watched the whole thing like a big girl. Alone! At night! In my apartment! Alone! By myself! I was very proud of myself. Did I mention I was alone? Because I was. It is not a particularly stellar movie. Maybe it doesn’t hold up well over time. It’s been twenty years after all. I just didn’t find it really evocative. It felt like an extremely icky long-form episode of Law & Order or CSI or Criminal Minds, that kind of soap-opera-style procedural. Kevin Spacey was awesome (no surprise there, that man is a national treasure) but I’ve never much cared for Brad Pitt and he’s in, like, every scene. Boo. However, I’m glad I’ve finally seen it because now I have seen it.
The other movie I saw that was NOT a Nicholas Sparks movie was Perfume. Ah, Germany. Never stop being German. You know the Grimm’s Fairy Tales? They’re still bringin’ that level of “nightmares forever” type of storytelling. Brief summary: A young man is born with an unbelievable sense of smell. He loves all smells, he doesn’t rate them as good or bad. He becomes a perfumier and he figures out how to bottle the scent of femininity and happiness. Problem is you need to render that scent out of the source which means a lot of pretty ladies die so he can de-scent them. When, finally, he is caught and is taken to be hung for killing all these young ladies he releases his perfect perfume on the public and it overwhelms everyone in attendance with feelings of compassion and love. And then there’s a mass orgy. Great movie. Really weird. Really disturbing. I wanted to watch it because I love the lead actor, Ben Whishaw. If you’re not keeping an eye on him, you should. He is gonna be a big damn deal someday. It was originally a book by Patrick Süskind. Neenernator recommended it to me back when we were in college (I think she read it in the original German). Here is Amazon’s summary of the book:
In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille’s genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the “ultimate perfume”—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.
I believe Perfume is streaming on Netflix so go check it out.