White Epilepsy (4 stars)

White Epilepsy

French artist Philippe Grandrieux's experimental exploration of the body

Philippe Grandrieux's work has often invoked the world of Francis Bacon, but in this almost purely experimental piece it is even more pronounced, as he takes Bacon's fascination with the triptych and the body and insists on utilising only the middle section of the frame.

Here are bodies in primordial states, fully formed as muscle and flesh, but as if unformed in the nature of their desires and subsequently somehow closer to nature. Utilising a dense soundtrack that both suggests the internal organs (lungs, larynx and heart) and the extended sounds of the forest, Grandrieux has made a film that isn't easy to watch but equally not easy to forget. It is a strategy that has worked wonderfully well for him in the past with moments from Sombre (for example, the Punch and Judy contest), La vie nouvelle (the scenes filmed with a thermo camera) and the misty lake in Un Lac all examples of the cinematically unforgettable. Perhaps the images here are too abstract and sculptural to fascinate us fully, without that soupçon of story that can make Grandrieux's work maddeningly suggestive, but this is is still a film by a modern master.

White Epilepsy showed at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013.

Trailer "White Epilepsy" de Philippe Grandrieux

White Epilepsy

  • 4 stars
  • 2012
  • France
  • 1h 8min
  • Directed by: Philippe Grandrieux

Experimental film in which a man and woman engage in a combination of dance and battle. Difficult but unforgettable, it's an exploration of bodies in primordial states, invoking the work of Francis Bacon. Perhaps not as suggestive as Grandrieux's earlier work but still a film by a modern master.