Bitter Moon Screen 4 articles

Bitter Moon


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  • Personally I find Bitter Moon riveting and energizing as few other recent movies have been, but I can guarantee that you won't emerge from it with any songs in your heart or any cares and worries lifted; in fact, it's blacker and in some ways bleaker than any Polanski movie to date. It's also probably his best movie since Chinatown (1974).

  • Whereas the hollowing-out of Rosemary Woodhouse as she begins to lose her notions of sanity was in many respects as much self-imposed as it was inflicted upon her by her egotistical husband, Mimi’s devastation is unmistakably the work of Oscar’s cunning and ruthless psychological demolition. In a supremely dark joke, this devastating section of the film (in which Mimi begs Oscar to abuse her) is the most vicious update of the Albee play [Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?].

  • In 1992's Bitter Moon, the most perverse and pleasurable of Polanski's films after Chinatown, a lousy American writer bends the ear of a fellow cruise-ship passenger with the lurid tale of how he ended up in a wheelchair. As seen in flashbacks, the apartment where the writer and his lover play sado-masochistic games is another of Polanski's confined and highly unsafe environments.

  • Polanski's lynchpin is not the curdling of lyricism but the lyricism of curdling, bliss and degradation enlarged so that there's no space separating them, bridged like farce and tragedy, or the sublime and the ridiculous... A smutty joke for a boring voyage, or the unbridled laying out of the salacious essence of the human soul? The nakedness of the film's confessions arouses derision in the puritanical, yet the last laugh remains [Polanski's], with the audience protesting but never leaving.

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