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France | 2018 | 103 minutes | Yann Gonzalez

In this garishly colored, giallo-inspired thriller, the small, tight-knit crew of a gay porn production team is targeted by a killer whose tool of choice must be seen to be believed.

"An apt, and not at all unserious, example of queer cinema at its most playful."—The New York Times

French writer/director Yann Gonzalez's second feature, Knife+Heart, is both a whodunit crime thriller and a story of passion and heartbreak. Set in the late-'70s gay-porn industry in Paris, the film has rightfully been described as William Friedkin's Cruising if it were directed by Dario Argento. Though Gonzalez's influences are evident, he is not imitating the giallo style, but rather using it as a contemporary form of filmmaking. The film centers on low-budget porn producer Anne (Vanessa Paradis), heartbroken after a breakup with her longtime lover and film editor Lois (Kate Moran), who has ended their relationship due to Anne's alcoholism. Meanwhile, a leather-masked murderer is killing off the studio's actors one by one, using a tool of choice that must be seen to be believed. While investigating the murders herself, Anne is inspired to parody the police investigation in a porno-noir starring her favorite star Archie (Nicolas Maury). Shot on 35mm by Simon Beaufils with occasional split-screen shots accompanied by a retro-sounding score by M83, Knife+Heart is a stylized, celluloid experience reminiscent of the thrillers and horror flicks of the '70s and '80s, sensational yet sympathetic in its depiction of its characters. It exhibits dark humor, erotic abandon, and plenty of blood splatter while reveling in the beauty of print film.

Colleen O'Holleran

Director Biography 
Born in 1977, Yann Gonzalez is a French filmmaker who, after several short films, made his feature debut as writer and director with You And The Night (2013). Like this debut, queer characters are at the center of Knife+Heart (2018), and the film's score was written by the band M83, led by Gonzalez's brother. To Gonzalez, Knife+Heart, which won the Prix Jean Vigo, is "all about collisions and collage: collisions of opposite forces, energies, styles, textures; collages of colors, emotions, film inspirations."

  • Original Language Title: Un couteau dans le coeur
  • Director: Yann Gonzalez
  • Principal Cast: Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moran, Nicolas Maury
  • Country: France, Switzerland, Mexico
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 103 minutes
  • Producer: Charles Gillibert
  • Screenplay: Yann Gonzalez, Cristiano Mangione
  • Cinematographers: Simon Beaufils
  • Editors: Raphael Lefevre
  • Music: M83
  • Filmography: You and the Night (2013)
  • Language: French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Altered Innocence
  • International Sales: Kinology