DIRECTED BY: Louis Malle
FEATURING: Cathryn Harrison, Therese Giehse, Alexandra Stewart, Joe Dallesandro
PLOT: A 15-year old girl flees a shooting war between the sexes and ends up at a farm estate inhabited by a bedridden old woman, a brother and sister both (like her) named “Lily,” a gang of naked children who herd pigs and sheep, and a unicorn.
WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: If we were making a list composed only of European-style arthouse surrealism, Black Moon would easily make the List. Here at 366, Black Moon has to fight for its space not only with other Buñuel-based concoctions, but also with the mutant species of crazed B-movies, the maddest of midnight movies, and intentional and unintentional oddities of every stripe; the competition makes this (admittedly very weird) experimental art movie a more marginal choice.
COMMENTS: Mercurial auteur Louis Malle (Au Revoir les Enfants) had dabbled in light absurdity with 1960’s Zazie dans le Metro, but audiences weren’t prepared for the sudden onslaught of full-on surrealism he unleashed in 1975 with Black Moon. The movie concerns a young girl’s flight from an absurd world—where camo-clad men line up female prisoners of war and execute them, with gas mask-wearing ladies returning the favor to their male captives—into a totally irrational one. With Malle behind the camera, we know that this will be a deliberate, quiet, beautifully-shot film. Indeed, there are lots of long atmospheric shots and no dialogue at all for the first fifteen minutes, until Lily, the fleeing girl, finally comes upon the villa hidden deep in the woods and meets its insane inhabitants. Her adventures are loosely inspired by that old weird warhorse, “Alice in Wonderland.” There’s a pig /baby that may be an explicit reference to “Pig and Pepper,” and the characters Lily meets have the casually insulting demeanors of the denizens of Wonderland: the bedridden old lady says she looks “stupid… and she has no bosom, no bosom at all!’ In a Caroll-esque exchange, the unicorn accuses her of being “mean” for trampling some daisies (who, disturbingly, scream), while the myth is munching down on the selfsame flowers. But don’t let the Alice references confuse you into supposing Malle’s film is a light absurdist comedy; although Continue reading LIST CANDIDATE: BLACK MOON (1975)