Black And White

Winner of the Camera d’Or at the 1986 Cannes film festival for best first feature, Claire Devers’ black-and-white French feature describes the extreme sadomasochistic relationship that develops between a shy, white married accountant who works at a health club and a young black masseur. The basic plot of this arty shockerwhich depends more on nuance and suggestion than on dialogue or on-screen actionis about the accountant’s discovery that he craves pain and the radical change in his life it brings about. Though this carefully crafted film has been praised for its subtlety, I found it opaque and at times downright irritating because of its puritanical peekaboo tastefulness; if the characters had been made more interesting, it might have added up to something more. (JR)

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