The Blackout (1997)


Pure Ferrara, which means, something between a music video, porn, and a confessional. Matthew Modine is nothing short of maniacal as an out of work actor addicted to cocaine. Beatrice Dalle comes through to make the whole thing as verite as you can get. She’s Betty Blue, Asia Argento, and a vampish lover, crushing every single hopeful dream of Modine’s character.

Dennis Hopper as a director at his creative peak, foregoing film for video, which he sees as the ultimate revolution and independence. Think a gangster Godard, channeling his role in Blue Velvet (and Beatrice Dalle as a reverse Rosselini). You could not come up with a better essay film, full of real-life filmic references and so bent on its own destruction and dissolution.

There are three Annies, the first one is Beatrice Dalle, the initiator. She’s also bent on destruction but in a way Modine will never understand. She also regenerates. The wicked witch to Modine’s lost child. Just look at her manner, she loses control, but never herself. This comes from years of practice, of fabricating lies, concealing truths, from somewhere deep that nobody has ever been in.

Annie 2, is a mannequin. She gets killed. A simple psychic manifestation. In Ferrara fashion, this is only revealed at the end. But you could tell she was nothing but a fantasy, a waitress at a Miami beach diner, what could be more commonplace than that?

The third Annie, is Modine’s girlfriend who stuck with him through rehab (Claudia Schiffer). She’s a “health nut”, with an apartment on the Upper East Side. She enjoys cooking, and painting. She’s on the other side of the line, and the only work Modine can find is (aptly) in a TV sitcom.

He rushes back to Miami to find the first Annie. She’s in Acapulco with another man. He relapses. We find out Dennis Hopper took care of disposing of the waitress’s body, but he kept the “snuff film”.

Our hero goes to the sea to drown…

Gretchen Mol on the soundtrack tells the story of a brother and sister in love…which is a movie unto itself.

Ferrara, everything as a drug.


Categories: Notes

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