Knife+Heart (Un couteau dans le cœur) is a modern giallo film that plays out in a gay porn production company in the summer of 1979. Anne runs the company, and has broken up with her long-term partner and film editor, Lois. Their films have become stale, and Anne knows it, so when someone brutally murders one of her actors, she uses the experience as inspiration for their next film. As Anne keeps using events in real life to make the films better, her creativity draws Lois back to her, but the killer doesn’t stop claiming victims.
The kills are violent, in particular the opening, although very little is actually seen. The costumes, locations, the film stock for the porn films, the way Lois physically edits film, it all looks perfect. It may be stylised like the classic giallos of the seventies, but where the characters in those were paper thin, Anne and her company are well-written and sensitively brought to life. Vanessa Paradis as Anne is sensational, as is Nicolas Maury’s Archibald. This film company is like a family, although money is always close to the surface of their conversations, and they have a lot of sex.
I find the idea of promiscuity fascinating, not just in sex, but as a representation of abundance. Promiscuity in the projects we choose is one route out of writer’s block. All the porn actors have sex with each other for the camera and enjoy it, even if sometimes they need a little help from ‘Golden Mouth’. It’s exciting watching Anne’s creativity blossom as she rediscovers the fun in her work. She uses the bad things happening to them and turns them into art. Anne’s intuition grows in power as the film goes on.
Scenes switch between real life, the porn films and Anne’s dreams, and sometimes it can take a few seconds to know which you are watching. Some might sneer at the films she makes, but she puts her whole self into them, and as we see at the end, is more than compensated for her labour.