Nightfall

discs murderer lives

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Murderer Lives at 21 (UK release) A murderer is stalking the streets of Paris, and his only calling card is a literal calling card bearing the name “Monsieur Durand.” The police are getting nowhere fast, but when a petty criminal offers evidence that the killer resides in a local boarding house a top detective goes in undercover to ferret the murderer out for arrest. Hilarity ensues. I’m not kidding about it being hilarious either. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot would go on to make Wages of Fear, Diabolique and others, but his debut film shows an assured hand with both the visual style and a fantastic tonal balance between the mystery and the laughs. The dialogue moves at a ’40s screwball comedy pace, and it’s loaded with wit, smarts and innuendo. Even more impressive is the film’s final shot… especially knowing it was shot during the Nazi occupation of France. [UK DVD extras: Interview]

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Foreign Objects - Large

It’s not often that you find cinematic art in a prison shower scene. Well, let’s rephrase. Non-exploitative prison shower scenes are rarely things of beauty. (Much better.) This film’s opening is an exception though as a single man fends off multiple attackers in an absolutely brutal and bloody brawl. The violent action is captured through painful-looking fight choreography and camerawork that utilizes slow motion to great effect. Bones are broken, blood is spilled and the scene ends leaving viewers as drained as the only man left standing. That man, Eugene Wang (Nick Cheung), is released from prison after a twenty year sentence for the rape and murder of a young woman, and his first stop is to grab some ice cream and eyeball some cute women at a busy intersection. He spots a teenager named Zoe (Janice Man) at a music university who looks almost identical to the woman he was convicted of killing, and soon he’s living in a small shack near her home, watching her through a telescope and plastering his wall with her picture. When a burned, beaten and disfigured corpse is discovered nearby Inspector Lam (Simon Yam) is tasked with the case. He has his own issues including an emotionally distant daughter and a wife who reportedly killed herself a few years prior, and as he focuses in on the dead body he discovers a link to the other killing two decades earlier.

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