|Water Drops On Burning Rocks (2000)
|Release Date:||October 9, 2001|
|Running Time:||1 hour 22 minutes|
Widescreen letterbox format.
Francois Ozon and Rainer Werner Fassbinder bios.
Two "sing along" with "Dance the Samba With Me" scenes in English and German.
English translation of poem spoken by Malik Zidi in one scene.
|Video Format:||Widescreen (1.66:1)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
|Casing:||1-Disc Keep Case
The story opens with Leo and Franz entering Leo's apartment. Leo pours a couple of drinks. Franz tells Leo that he doesn't know why he came home with Leo because he had a date that night with Anna, his fiancee. Leo slowly manipulates the conversation to the point that he asks Franz to have sex with him. The experienced 50 year old man is able to corral the naÃ¯ve young man into bed. Of course, Franz probably had some idea this was going to happen when he came home with Leo in the first place.
Six months later, Leo and Franz are a couple. Leo comes and goes as he is a traveling salesman. Franz writes poems to Leo even though Leo is a bitchy old queen who berates the younger man all the time. One day while Franz is alone in the apartment, there is a knock on the door. Franz, in his underwear, opens the door. There is an older woman at the door. She has a smile on the door thinking Leo is going to answer it. Her visage changes as she sees the young man. There is a sadness in her eyes that hints at darker secrets than we can imagine. She leaves without giving her name.
I saw the trailer for this movie on the DVD for "Aimee and Jaguar." If not for the trailer, I probably wouldn't have ever seen this one. The trailer is a hoot. The four characters are dancing to a German pop/samba song. They dance side by side, and are having a great time. Leo suddenly walks over to the stereo, turns of the album and says, "That's enough, everyone in the bedroom." Anna, wearing only blue bra and panties and Vera jump up and down, screaming with delight like newly crowned prom queens and run toward the bedroom. The trailer was catchy and fun and hooked me. I'm glad I saw it. It is a stagy and ultimately depressing movie. Just as the writer had an ultimately depressing life which ended in an overdose of barbiturates and cocaine.
The acting is good. Bernard Giraudeau as Leo is both powerful and a royal pain in the ass. His final scene makes you want to go back and reexamine the movie for hints of what was to come. Ludivine Sagnier as Anna is fresh and sexy as hell. Her Anna is in over her head when she goes up against Leo. Anna Thompson as Vera has the least to do. She has an excellent scene with Franz at the end which is very revealing. The final shot of the film is a freeze frame of Vera which sums up all that has come before. Malik Zidi as Franz is also quite good.
"Water Drops on Burning Rocks" has won several international film festival awards as best Gay and Lesbian film. It is thought provoking and entertaining. It does show that love, no matter straight or gay can be a real downer
Not a visually exciting film. If you remember the scenes inside Alex's parent's apartment in "A Clockwork Orange" then you'll have a feel for how this entire movie looks. There is one exception which is the "Samba" dance sequence which is hilarious, sexy, exciting and fun. If only the rest of the movie had this look and tone. Flesh tones are excellent (especially Ms. Sagnier's). I noticed a few artifacts. There was some minor loss of delineation between darker colors during the final sequence.
The sound was fine. This is a dialogue driven movie. As I don't speak French, I was reduced to reading subtitles, therefore I really can't say if any dialogue was lost. The "Samba" scene sounded great. The music was clear and brisk.
Cool menu. The menu and the trailer make this seem like an up-beat sex farce, rather than the serious film it turns out to be. The menu is colorful and makes good use of images and music from the film.
The "Sing along" features are cool. I love the great "Samba" scene more than the rest of the movie. The bio of Fassbinder is short. Zeitgeist would have done better by him to include a featurette or documentary. Better yet, somebody hire Werner Hertzog to do a documentary about Fassbinder.
The Final Word:
I'm glad I saw the movie. It was far from what I expected. The ultimately depressing and hopeless ending left me with a bad taste. It's not that I don't like films that have doom as their ultimate message, it is just that this film was promoted as something else. It's worth a look. Whether you rent or buy will be a matter of personal taste.