22 February 2004 | Nodriesrespect
Angel of Death
Though he has made far better known films (such as ADORABLE LOLA and BOURGEOISE...ET PUTE !, both with mega star Marilyn Jess), this early effort of dirty movie maker extraordinaire Gérard Kikoïne stands as one of his best. Revered as a director of vision and sophistication well beyond the adult film reviewing circle in the early '80s, he later chose to disown the 'disreputable' genre that made him famous for B movie obscurity with the enjoyable (for all the wrong reasons) likes of EDGE OF SANITY and BURIED ALIVE. Not the best of career moves...
ENTRECHATTES (now released on French DVD as L'INFIRMIERE on a value for money triple bill with the earlier mentioned BOURGEOISE and PRISON TRES SPECIALE POUR FEMMES) presents the frequently subversive Kikoïne at his dark depraved best, an acid-drenched portrait of a dysfunctional upper class family from the pen of another gifted sex film creator, the late lamented Claude Mulot (aka Frédéric Lansac of LE SEXE QUI PARLE fame).
Private nurse Ange (the stunningly beautiful Agnès Lemercier, better known under her silly alias "Jenny Feeling") seems to make a nice living from killing off old geezers, make that abundantly wealthy old geezers, at the request of their invariably much younger second or third wives. Following her latest 'success', she's off to the French countryside to care for crusty ailing millionaire Gilbert Servien who makes life miserable for all around him, none more than his nympho wife Carole (impressively essayed by hauntingly sad-eyed Marie-Dominique Cabanne, best remembered as one of Claude Bernard-Aubert's VEUVES EN CHALEUR) and his estranged bisexual son (underrated Joël Charvier in a seething performance). While Ange gradually smothers the old man with kindness, taking time off to seduce each family member separately in a series of creative encounters, his nearest and dearest barely bother to conceal their outright hatred for their pater familias as well as each other.
Revealing all characters as greedy, self-serving monsters could've cost Kikoïne dearly. After all, who would want to spend time getting hot and bothered over a bunch of people without any redeeming features literally using each other for their own gain, right ? Yet the unusually incisive screenplay and much better than average acting performances have a quite adverse effect, drawing the viewer into the oppressive, unhealthy hothouse atmosphere. Take note, for example, how most of the swelteringly intense sex scenes take place during thunderstorms, both a reflection of the characters' inner turmoil and a further illustration of the hell on earth they've created for themselves in their restless lust for the family fortune. Ever the cynic, there are no winners in Kikoïne's private universe, save for the intriguingly blank Ange, an empty screen onto which the others project their needs and desires.