‘Knife+Heart’: 1970s Gay Porn-Themed Thriller Debuts At Cannes

The subculture of the 1970s gay porn scene—in Paris—serves as the setting for a new erotic thriller that debuted in a late-night screening at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday. While the show business “bible” Variety magazine predicted that Knife+Heart, from 41-year-old second-time director Yann Gonzalez, “should be one of the hottest tickets for gay audiences this year,” overall critical reaction to the artsy slasher flick appears mixed.

The movie stars veteran French actress/model (and singer) Vanessa Paradis as Anne, “a gay-porn producer in 1979 Paris who is trying to win back her ex-girlfriend even as a masked serial killer stalks and slays the actors who star in her blue films,” according to synopsis by New York Magazine’s Vulture blog

In what may be Gonzalez’s nod to the bizarre Italian horror genre known as giallo, the wears a leather mask and carries out his string of slayings using “a black dido knife,” according to the Hollywood business site The Wrap

“Though set in various sex dungeons and cruising grounds, the film fetishizes nothing more than the look and feel of ’70s exploitation cinema, often to its narrative detriment,” Wrap critic Ben Croll wrote.

Variety saw more in the film, however, noting that, “gnarly as it can be at times, Knife + Heart is above all an unabashedly queer, affectionately comedic look at the pursuit of art in the unlikeliest of places. “

Britain’s Guardian newspaper, however, dismissed the film as nothing more than “hardcore whimsy-porn,” whatever that means.

“It really is strange, a film with what is actually a pretty good premise for a comedy, but with no interest in actually being a comedy and also no interest in being a thriller, or even that mysterious erotic parable that it seems to be claiming to be,” The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw wrote. “It isn’t funny enough — or serious enough. But I concede that it might acquire a cult midnight-movie status.”

While the film marks Gonzalez’s second to be screened at Cannes, Knife+Heart is his first to be admitted into in the prestigious field of competitors for the festival’s coveted Palm D’Or award—though judging by the critical response, the movie doesn’t stand much of a chance at the grand prize.

Screen Daily also found Gonzalez’s film “frustrating,” ripping the movie for seeming to be “d***k on its own trashy, lurid aesthetic,” displaying “style to burn but not as much sense.”

The French director’s first feature was 2013’s You and the Night, in which retired international soccer star Eric Cantona starred as, according to The Guardian, “a legendarily endowed stud who exists in an eternal twilight of vampire priapism.” That film also explored darkly erotic themes, centering around a wealthy young couple who, together with their gender-fluid maid, invite four strangers to an orgy.

Variety said that Gonzalez’s debut film marked him as “a new gay-cinema darling.”  

Photo via Cannes Film Festival

Written by: Michael French

Originally published on: https://avn.com/business/articles/video/knifeheart-1970s-gay-porn-themed-thriller-debuts-at-cannes-777075.html

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