Nature Morte


The film begins with a gory scene in which a painter named Stephenson kills his model (Michelle Esclapez) and paints with her blood. In the morning he kills himself. The police in Marseilles conclude that this is the end of the so-called "Marseilles Monster," a noted serial killer, because the artist's studio includes paintings of all the previous victims. The only apparent mysteries seem to be why the artist chose this time to end his murder spree, and why he left the last painting unfinished.

But there is more. Some months pass and the French police need the services of an art expert because they unearth a fully finished copy of the mysteriously unfinished painting, and their lab work tells them that the painting has been created since Stephenson died. The situation is made more perplexing  because nobody has ever seen the unfinished copy of the painting except the police. The art expert confirms that the new painting seems to be a Stephenson.

The art expert and a French cop soon end up in Thailand, in pursuit of a master art forger named Lec, who seems to have been the creator of the Stephenson painting created after Stephenson's death. Lec also seems to be in possession of several other Stephenson paintings - or are they Lec paintings? The cop starts to believe that Lec, not Stephenson, may have been the real killer in Marseilles, or at least an accomplice, but his theory is shot when he obtains Lec's fingerprints and tracks down his real identity, only to discover that he was in prison during several of the Marseilles murders. At any rate, Lec himself is soon killed, so there is nothing more to pursue in Thailand.

The story returns to England and grows increasingly more complex when more Stephenson-style paintings turn up and more murders occur. Sound confusing? It is. The key to the story is one painting - Stephenson's self-portrait. If you stay fixed on that painting, the mystery will be clear. Well, maybe not clear, but at least semi-comprehensible. The face in the painting keeps changing. First it is Stephenson's face, then Lec's, then ... well, just keep watching.

The story is further complicated by a sub-plot which winds back into the main plot. Lec had a girlfriend named Blanche (the film's co-producer and editor, Carole Derrien) who was devastated by his loss. She takes on a new lover, a woman (Morrigan Hel), who turns her on but just doesn't have Lec's cruel streak. Blanche prefers women, but wants to find one as cruel as Lec. When she figures out that the man she loved was just some kind of spirit that travels from body to body, as reflected in the mutable self-portrait, she resolves to steal the supernatural painting and give it to her current lover. She assumes that that the owner of the painting will soon be possessed by the traveling spirit, and she will therefore get to keep her current female lover (in body) and also be reunited with her murderous ex-lover (in spirit).

At least that's my best guess as to what is going on in the film. Frankly, the narrative is garbled and slow to begin with, often focusing too much screen time on irrelevancies, and much of the storyline is revealed through dream sequences and drug-induced hazes. The film's liabilities don't end there. The film is filled with technical problems. The film was shot on mini-DV and the lighting is far too dark, so that some scenes are virtually in stygian blackness. The actors are not only stiff and amateurish, but some of them speak with such heavy accents that comprehension is a real problem. The audience is left trying to piece together an excessively complicated plot from pictures that can't be seen and words that can't be understood, making the film's positive elements virtually impossible to enjoy.

Yes, there are positives. The filmmakers managed to do a lot with $200,000. There are location shots in France, England, and Thailand, and there are some sumptuous settings. (The co-producers must have friends with very nice houses and cars.) The film also has a certain surreal appeal that transcends its weaknesses. If you are into the whole Gorotica thing, you may find Nature Morte interesting. With the aid of a bizarre original score, the director manages to do a good job in cultivating a dark, ugly erotically-charged atmosphere, and in loading up the film with guilty genre pleasures like gore and lesbian sex. There are hints of Jean Rollin and Jesus Franco in the style and mood of the film, so if you like those directors you may find some individual scenes to contain the same offbeat appeal found in stylized debauchery which was so popular in the European Horrotica films of the 1970s and beyond.

Mainstream movie goers will find it not only too dark and depraved but, worse still, will find it unintelligible as well.

There is a lot of nudity. It starts slow. There's some nudity in the opening Stephenson sequence, then virtually none for the next hour, but once the film gets going it delivers nudity almost non-stop in the last half-hour.

Film clips:

Here is a small picture of Carole Derrien taken from the official web site.


  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.









Today a short trip in the Time Machine back to 1994 for the classic nudity in Sirens.

Elle Macpherson leads off with her glorious boobs.

Elle and Kate Fischer show off the "Big-Un's" down at the old swimming hole. Caps and two clips.

More boobage from Kate Fischer.

Pamela Rabe shows off her bod.

Portia de Rossi and her "Tiny Tots".

More "Tiny Tots" and full frontal from Tara Fitzgerald, in church no less. Caps and a clip.


Elle Macpherson, Kate Fischer, Pamels Rabe & Portia de Rossi all pose naked for an artist. Caps and a clip.







Notes and collages

In the Heat of the Night


Quentin Dean














Anabelle Gurwitch in Not Like Us
Emily Lloyd in The Honeytrap

Film Clips

The women of Layer Cake: Sienna Miller and Sally Hawkins

The women of Le Sourire: (1) The Seigner Sisters; (2) Jeanne Savary, Catherine Mongodin, and Noella Dussar

One of the kinkiest scenes ever filmed by major stars: Obi-Wan and Emily Mortimer in Young Adam. (If you haven't seen this, it's a strange one, well worth a look.)

Barbra Streisand in A Star is Born

Olga Kurylenko in Hitman. This is an extra scene which is in the unrated DVD, but was not in the theatrical release. There is a very brief full frontal. (I guess. I'm not sure if those are her pubes or panties.)

Deborah Foreman in 3:15