Livide [Livid] (2011)

Director: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Writer: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Cast: Chloé Coulloud, Félix Moati, Jérémy Kapone, Catherine JacobChloé MarcqMarie-Claude Pietragalla, Béatrice Dalle
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
[Review by Maynard Morrissey.]

Lucie (Chloé Coulloud) just started as a trainee care giver and tours through various houses with Catherine Wilson (Catherine Jacob) where they visit and take care of old people. One of them is Madame Jessel (Marie-Claude Pietragalla) who has been in a coma for years. Madame Wilson tells Lucie about a supposed treasure at the house, which Lucie passes on to her boyfriend William (Félix Moati) and his brother Ben (Jérémy Kapone). William decides that they should go and look for that treasure. Despite initial hesitation, Lucie goes along with the plan. But what they find in the house is very different from what they expected.

I absolutely loved Livide. The aesthetics, the story, the atmosphere, the attention to detail – it was really great.


There is a lot going on in Livide and I don’t think that I caught even half of what there is to catch (which bodes well for an eventual re-watch) without that ever becoming frustrating – because there is so much you can find in the film anyway. That starts with the house (an actual house, not a set, as Julien Maury explained to us after the film) that is not only a beautiful piece of architecture but crammed full with stuff to discover and all fitting into an overarching, stunning aesthetic.

But the story is similiarly chock-full of details that give the entire film a richness, even if or maybe because it goes completely against Chekhov’s gun doctrine that every detail introduced has to be used lateron in the story. (Or maybe I just didn’t catch all the ways the various details were used.) That also made the ending rather surprising to me – but I liked it a lot.

livide1In fact, there was only one little thing that bothered me. [SPOILERS] When they exchange Anna’s (Chloé Marcq) and Lucie’s bodies, why was it necessary to staple Lucie’s eyes closed. It felt unnecessarily flashy of the film to do this, even if the stapler fit seamlessly into the film. [/SPOILERS] But in the end that is such a minor complaint that I was thinking of not including it at all in my review.

In all that beauty, there is also room for a lot of tension and scariness. It is a horror movie after all, and one with fairy tale like qualities to boot. And Bustillo and Maury know exactly how they have to handle that to make it amazing.

livide2Summarizing: Beautiful and scary.

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