Eat, For This is My Body
This article is from 2008.
(Michelange Quay, Haiti/France) 105min
Quay’s semi-abstract look at colonial elements in Haiti is comparable to two 1980s touchstones, Marion Hänsel’s Dust and Claire Denis’ Chocolat. While there is an impressive opening shot that glides over the country’s shanty towns, and the bustle of city life is viewed late on in the film, for the most part this is a study in stillness and silence, lust and vague desire.
Set in a stunning but strangely under-furnished and slightly decrepit mansion, the two white women who run this Caucasian dominance could be two sides of the same coin: the ageing matriarch (Catherine Samie) who lies in bed and the young woman (Sylvie Testud) wandering naked around the corridors. Quay isn’t one for cause and effect here; or rather, much of it comes from a juxtaposition of images that makes story secondary to visually thematic exploration. Clearly influenced by the voodoo elements that the film accesses early on, Eat . . . is a work halfway between the experimental and the concrete, a film from which narrative can be extracted but where it isn’t laboriously and predictably worked through.
Filmhouse, Fri 20 Jun, 7.15pm; Sat 21 Jun, 5pm, £8 (£6.40).