Les Rivières Pourpres

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Les Rivières Pourpres
  And speaking of rivers and waters rising… Most impressive about Kassovitz’s films are the underlying themes of respect for human diversity and of embracing change. (Good stuff for the heart without drowning us in the sap!) His film, Les Rivières Pourpres, tells the story of an intellectual community, disconnected by natural forces – the Alps and human menace. Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel play good cop/good cop trying to find the bad guy who keeps murdering people – in very extreme and violent ways. Your basic action film with high-speed car chases, guns, music to induce emotion so the viewer really doesn’t have to think (or feel), screaming – a lot of screaming. Typical Hollywood only…French. The film ends when old cop (who is scared of dogs) and new cop (who is not) uncover not just a single culprit but an entire system functioning under the power of a few generations of bad blood (literally) – a system based on the anti-semantic drive toward creating the “perfect” human. Freaks! In Les Rivières Pourpres Kassovitz’s social criticism extends to academia as the “educated” elite, having all the answers, force their will on and enforce the law in the isolated community.  Kassovitz weaves together the different kinds of corruption – corrupt systems, corrupt ideas, corrupt minds, corrupt people – and shows a distaste for police and military by presenting them as the laughing stock, chez Keystone Kops! The human hand is the most unique appendage on the body. Spiritually speaking, hands denote deeds well done while the eyes are the windows to the soul. In Les Rivières Pourpres, the murderer cuts off the victims’ hands and extracts their eyes. Here, Kassovitz returns to comment on systems. Not only do systems strip an individual of her identity, they also destroy her path to the soul! From academia to military, these structures cage and lock people in. Hypotheses, theses, rhetoric, dogma, etc., grow heavy, rock solid, violent. The outcome is aggression – towards oneself, towards diversity, towards change, towards others – and intolerance, which is something like crimson, a color so red it appears purple. * Apparently a sequel has been released called Les Rivières pourpres II – Les anges de l’apocalypse (Crimson Rivers 2 – The Angels of the Apocalypse). I haven’t seen it.
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