She May Be the Fate I Can't Escape

L-R: Jennifer Tilly in Bound, Nicole Kidman in To Die For, and Faye Dunaway in Chinatown.

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," as the saying goes. In short, never mess with a woman — especially a femme fatale — unless you want some serious trouble.

According to Wikipedia, "a femme fatale (/ˌfæm fəˈtɑːl/ or /ˌfɛm fəˈtɑːl/; French: [fam fatal]) is a stock character of a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. She is an archetype of literature and art."

Just like Delilah, Catherine Tramell, and Mrs. Robinson, these enigmatic ladies cast their wicked spell on men (and, for some on the list, women), making them as vulnerable as a newborn baby.

Seductive. Mysterious. Dangerous. Behold some of my fave femme fatales.

(In chronological order.)

Phyllis Dietrichson, Double Indemnity
Played by Barbara Stanwyck

To score some huge money, insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) conspires with Phyllis Dietrichson. Having a bad wig day, Phyllis gives Walter an indecent proposal, so indecent it involves Phyllis' husband being dead. (Oh, and about that wig. I thought I was watching George Washington in drag.)

Evelyn Mulwray, Chinatown
Played by Faye Dunaway

She's very reminiscent of those femme fatales in film noir. A tragic character, Evelyn Mulwray is seemingly stoic until her disturbing secret is finally revealed during the iconic "sister daughter scene." Evelyn's vulnerability is what makes her a femme fatale. Evelyn's defenses down, suave P.I. Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) does every deadly thing just to save her. Miss Dunaway's performance is one of the film's remarkable moments.


Hollywood's Gift of Remakes

Fueled by repetitive remakes, Hollywood now gives us The Gift. No, it's not that movie wherein Katie Holmes bares it all. This one is a blatant remake of Caché, Michael Haneke's 2005 film about a man's vengeful past.

Made ten years after Haneke's film, The Gift borrows quite a lot of plot elements from Caché: the videotapes are now a series of gifts, the Paris neighborhood turns into a Los Angeles suburb, Daniel Auteuil is now Jason Bateman (they kinda look alike though), Maurice Bénichou is now Joel Edgerton, and Juliette Binoche is now Rebecca Hall.


Haneke Ranked

At its best, film should be like a ski jump. It should give the viewer the option of taking flight, while the act of jumping is left up to him.

– Michael Haneke

Along with Schubert, Romy Schneider, Helmut Berger, Christoph Waltz, and vienna sausage — I refuse to include The Terminator — Michael Haneke is one of Austria's national treasures.

(Just some trivia: Haneke is somewhat related to Waltz.)

I often recognize a Michael Haneke movie every time I see one. Abrupt transitions. Random shots of mundane things. Static shots. Isabelle Huppert. Susanne Lothar. Juliette Binoche. The names "Anne" and "George" and their variation. Long shots. And no music, because according to him: "usually music is used to hide a film's problems."


Fave Movie Posters: Le cercle rouge

"Fave Movie Posters" is a new portion on this humble a-blog of mine. It features some of my fave movie posters, either theatrical ones or those intended as DVD or Blu-ray disc covers.

I'd be honest here, most of the posters I might feature are those by The Criterion Collection, because I find their posters very innovative while still being loyal to the film's thematics.

Paving the way for this new portion is the Criterion poster for Le cercle rouge, Jean-Pierre Melville's 1970 heist movie. This stylish Frenchie starred Alain Delon, Gian Maria Volonté, and Yves Montand as thieves who conspire a huge heist.

(A remake starring Orlando Bloom was said to be on the way. Apparently it's still on the way, or maybe it's already off the way.)

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