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Il Buco

Director – Michelangelo Frammartino – 2021 – Italy – Cert. U – 93m

**1/2

A Calabrian cowherd nears the end of his life while a group of explorers journey down a deep hole to find out how deep into the ground it descends – out in cinemas on Friday, June 10th

Literally, ‘The Hole’. Frammartino again brings to the cinema the style that made his earlier Le Quattro Volte (2010) so special. He sets up the camera, often at a great distance from the action, then leaves it there to record whatever happens. The narrative of Il Buco is actually pretty simple, a recreation of an expedition by a group of young, amateur speleologists into a hole in the ground in Calabria. (Speleology is the branch of science involved in mapping and measuring the interiors of caves, natural underground systems, and the like.)

It’s 1961. We’re first introduced to the place in a shot looking out of the ground at the edge of the hole as, eventually, the heads of two bulls come into view over the ridge. An elderly cowherd watches over the grazing cattle from a position halfway up a forty degree incline hillside. As the bus leaves the rich, urban developments of Northern Italy for the still unspoiled Southern region of Calabria, we watch it slowly make its way along rounds, through a small rural town where the party stops for the night to bed down in sleeping bags in the local, Catholic Church alongside statues of monks and the crucified Christ lying on his back, across open country until it arrives at the vast plain where the explorers will set up camp.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Perfumes (Les Parfums)

Director – Grégory Magne – 2019 – France – Cert. tbc – 100m

****

In Cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema from Friday, August 21st

GuGuillaume (Grégory Montel) is a chauffeur. His boss Arsène (Gustave Kervern) is thoroughly fed up with him, so gives him a job with a known difficult customer Mademoiselle Walberg. Guillaume is currently trying to get 50/50 custody of his daughter, so needs his job. And must put up with any nonsense his client comes up with. Like throwing his cigarette packet out of the car window. Or insisting he help her change the hotel bedsheets because she doesn’t like the smell of the chambermaid’s perfume.

The reclusive Anne Walberg (Emmanuelle Devos) is a ‘nose’. She combines smells to create perfumes and had a stint with the Dior company before her career took a wrong turn. These days, all her agent can get her is recreating the smells of caves or making the fumes from unpleasant factories smell nice. But she longs to make perfumes again.

This is a stylish and charming movie with unusual, olfactory subject matter. You can’t smell in movies, so this element is instead conjured by verbal description. In a trip to a cave – the real cave, not the duplicate nearer the highway for which she must compose the smells, Anne feels, rubs and sniffs cave interior surfaces, getting Guillaume to write everything she says in a notebook.… Read the rest