Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

I would like to hear what everyone thinks of this film... likes or dislikes...


  1. I'll start the discussion by copying my comment from my "Fav Films" list I made awhile back.

    I’ve been struggling for a few moments trying to find the words to describe why I love this film. The cinematography, the subtlety and nuance, the horror/fairytale-like story... I love all aspects of this film.

    Jean-Baptiste Grenouille’s journey of purpose, identity and the capture of beauty rivals almost every other film on my list when I really start thinking about it. It boils down to this… The protagonist is a monster… but I sympathize and relate to the monster. Perfume at its core is about a man with no identity who looses the most beautiful thing to him and becomes obsessed with reclaiming it. In the process, he concocts a falsehood (the perfume that gives him a “scent” or in his case a soul/identity) that can literally give him everything a man could want and at that moment when he commands the love and will of everyone… he realizes it’s all false and cannot make him happy… so he allows his false persona (i.e. the Perfume) to destroy him. Brilliant.

    Yes, it's a little weird with the orgy and cannibalism and woman murdering... but it's an amazing testament to the power of cinematic storytelling that you can layer such a rich and powerful story into such a twisted and dark visual world.

    Quite possibly one of my favorite movies ever...

  2. Quoting John: "but it's an amazing testament to the power of cinematic storytelling that you can layer such a rich and powerful story into such a twisted and dark visual world."

    I have to agree 100%. When you can suspend your disbelief enough for a film with a unusual plot and feel like it's real, it has done it's job. This is a movie that needs to go on my DVD shelf. Must see.

  3. I was thrilled when this adaptation was announced having seen Tykwers prior work (Run Lola Run) in theaters when I was a freshman in high school.

    My opinion of "Perfume" is not that far removed from the popular opinions of my former classmates insofar as the manner in which the film technically and artistically comes together so brilliantly.

    I did feel a little polarized by the orgy end sequence though. It's not that I disregard "alternative narrative", I had just hoped for a more traditional culmination for Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, not for the sake of the story, but for the sake of the films potential audience. I believe it's because the rest of the film and story are so unique that I wanted to be able to go to everyone I know and tell them: "You must see this film before you die". Warranted, I still attempt to push this, and many other films on the average unsuspecting film-goer, but in the case of "Perfume", it seems to have been relegated to the same category of films that elicit a response of "pretentious movie that A.J. would enjoy" from so many of my non-film-oriented friends and acquaintances.

    The ending of any film can determine how an audience will construct their opinion of the film overall - even if that means disregarding a sub par second act because the third act and climax are perfect. I feel that the concept of "Perfume" already has potential audiences on edge with whether or not they will even give the film the time of day. I'm afraid by ending in a nontraditional way Tykwer may have cost Jean-Baptiste Grenouille the acceptance he could have found in an audience that wanted so badly to allow this monster to recapture his humanity.

    The finer points of the ending may be lost on most audiences, and perhaps they aren't the people who should ever see this film. It is startling beautiful from start to finish. The polarizing effect of the ending may have cost the film a wider audience (as the $2,223,293 US Box Office take would support). The rest of the world seemed to have loved it as much as we did though.

    Excuse the run-on sentences, my internet writing takes on a more stream-of-conscious format than is traditionally acceptable.

  4. yeah Armin, I can see your point about the ending...

    It makes it odd to recommend to a lot of people b/c it literally ends w/
    *SPOILER* an orgy+cannibalism... *END SPOILER*

    the thematic and symbolic factors of such an ending are lost on most people... however I have shown this film to my 19y/o brother, Grandma, Grandpa, and Mother in the same sitting and while they all said the movie was "weird"... they all admitted to liking it... perhaps despite itself...lol

  5. When I sat down to watch this film I really had no idea what to expect. As the film started to evolve I became more and more lost in the world that I was visiting. The production design and cinematography are truly masterful. I began to to like the Jean a little more with every second that ticked bye. By the time I entered the 3rd act of this film, I could care less what he had done. I was rooting for this young man to succeed at all costs. I will admit the ending kind of caught me off-gaurd. I agree with Armin that I would have liked to have seen a little bit of a more traditional ending, that way I could recommend it to other people with out seeming like a total creep. But the ending really made sense of the whole film. I thoroughly enjoyed this cinematic experience, my only regret is not getting to see it in the theaters.


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