French writer/director Yann Gonzalez's second feature, Knife+Heart, is both a whodunit crime thriller and a story of passion and heartbreak. Set in the late-'70s gay-porn industry in Paris, the film has rightfully been described as William Friedkin's Cruising if it were directed by Dario Argento. Though Gonzalez's influences are evident, he is not imitating the giallo style, but rather using it as a contemporary form of film-making.
The film centres on low-budget porn producer Anne (Vanessa Paradis), heartbroken after a breakup with her longtime lover and film editor Lois (Kate Moran), who has ended their relationship due to Anne's alcoholism. Meanwhile, a leather-masked murderer is killing off the studio's actors one by one, using a tool of choice that must be seen to be believed. While investigating the murders herself, Anne is inspired to parody the police investigation in a porno-noir starring her favourite star Archie (Nicolas Maury).
Shot on 35mm by Simon Beaufils with occasional split-screen shots accompanied by a retro-sounding score by M83, Knife+Heart is a stylised, celluloid experience reminiscent of the thrillers and horror flicks of the '70s and '80s, sensational yet sympathetic in its depiction of its characters. It exhibits dark humour, erotic abandon, and plenty of blood splatter while reveling in the beauty of print film.
BBFC Advice: Contains sexual violence, strong violence, sex.
Running Time: 1hr 42mins
BBFC Advice: 18
Director(s): Yann Gonzalez
Country of Origin: France | Mexico
Year of release: 2018
Language(s): French | Spanish