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“I proudly slam my flag in the sand that Saint Bernard is not for ‘them’— whoever ‘them’ is, but you and I know who ‘them’ are— and I don’t want ‘them’ seeing the film.” —Gabriel Bartalos
DIRECTED BY: Gabriel Bartalos
FEATURING: Jason Dugre
PLOT: An orchestra conductor travels through an increasingly bizarre milieux while carrying a dog’s severed head in a bag.
- Gabriel Bartalos only directed two features, the bizarro slasher film Skinned Deep (2004) and this one. He was, however, much in demand as a practical special effects and makeup expert, working on many popular horror movies (Cremaster” films (2, 3, and 4). ). He also provided effects and makeup “
- The film is dedicated to Benoît LeStang, a French make-up/special effects artist involved in, among many other projects, Brotherhood of the Wolf.
- Saint Bernard was shot on 35mm film over the course of 10 days in a screen ratio of 1.78:1; standard dimensions in France—a country somehow on the hook for producing this.
- The movie is only known to have screened once—at the San Sebastian Horror and Fantasy Film Festival—before being released to Blu-ray in 2019.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Seeing as this story is chock-full of unsettling and grotesque sequences, the whimsical emergence of young conductor Bernard from a sweet-dreams variant of the Něco z Alenky mansion stands out for its sunny magical surrealism. The smiling lad in a crisp white suit and bow-tie ably batons through a classical performance amplified from an iPod for a receptive audience of his peers.
TWO WEIRD THINGS: Doggie bag; Uncle Ed the Music Monster
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Saint Bernard is intensely cryptic, but always engaging—even as the symbolism (or, perhaps mere randomness) is slapped on without mercy. Our cursèd conductor endures the unfathomable: liberation by chainsaw-wielding Frenchman; a run-in with a deformed wino police chief; a would-be escape through a fecal puddle emitted by Static Boy. Is it all meaningless? Perhaps; but this is Goremeister Arthäus . It may waste your time, but it does so with gooey gusto.
Original trailer for Saint Bernard
COMMENTS: “Hey, um, I need help,” admits the film’s protagonist at Continue reading *25. SAINT BERNARD (2013)