Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Bartel's Twisted Past

Paul Bartel had a varied career as successful actor, writer and director. His 1972 debut behind the lens, Private Parts, is a sleazy black comedy which follows a virginal teenager fleeing her squat and into the care of a distant aunt who runs a decrepit hotel populated with a bunch of perverts and weirdos but as the young girl settles in, her attachment to a creepy photographer puts her in jeopardy. The acting is piss poor and there's barely enough comedy to justify it’s existence but it does have a sort of grubby charm and an enthusiasm to offend (even if it does seem tame by today’s standards) so it’s not a complete waste of time.
Eating Raoul followed a ten years later and is much more accomplished dish of bad taste chuckles. Bartel himself plays one half of a professional couple who come up with a unique method for funding the culinary ambitions however their peculiar plan becomes unstuck with the arrival of a young handsome confederate. The script is much tighter than Private P and despite the murderous lunacy of the main characters Bartel still, somehow, manages to elicit some sympathy. Sure it looks terrible and the shock has paled over the years but it’s a decent watch

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