I’ve literally just watched Carne, so this should be a raw/Rawwwr Bear review. If you like it – like it! And of course, comments are appreciated and replied to.
NOTE: This is a review of a Gaspar Noe film, so may contain topics that would unsettle the squeamish. To give you an idea – this guy loves the film Salo by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
Now, the review…
Apparently, the consumption of horse meat is illegal everywhere in the whole entire world apart from France, and instead of calling it horse meat, they call it ‘Carne’ due to its colour and moderate pricing.
Carne is the name of his film. Apt choice, if you mind me saying.
The film is relatively short, coming in just shy of 40 minutes, but that’s the only thing shy about this piece of cinema by Gaspar Noe, and if you’ve seen anything about him, they you know how graphic his imagery can get. His ballsy approach to filmmaking is quite admirable in my opinion, and he really tests you to keep watching from the get go.
In Carne, it opens with the butcher – the main character of this film – in an abattoir, killing a real horse, slitting its throat on screen. Out of context, this is simply exploitation, but when considered with the rest of the story, it is such a bold move that I doubt many directors would ever consider putting such a scene in their film. I would go as far as to say it was the total opposite of exploitation and bought some truth to the viewer
as a reminder of the process our meat produce goes through before ending up on our plates.
Nevertheless, his life revolved around the handling of meat, which is divided only with the love of his daughter.
Let’s get one thing clear: the butcher is messed up in the head. That’s for sure. Since the birth of his daughter (yeah, we see that moment in the short film as well) he has been left to bring her up on his own. His wife wanted
nothing to do with the baby as she wanted a boy. Odd, but that’s how it played out. Now the messed up bit – it seemed to me that the butcher was fighting incestual thoughts off up until the moment he said early on in the film that his daughter had become a lady, and in his own words he said this: “And in a few months she became a lady. Her body changed. It was strange for me.” I don’t know about you, but that’s just fucked up. Don’t believe me? How about if I said he still washes her in the shower room. Yeah… thought so…
As the film pushes on, it becomes apparent that the daughter never speaks. Not even at the dinner table. It’s as if she was brought up never to speak. That on its own is a sign of a bed relationship with his father. And this hidden world isn’t unnoticed by the strangers in the cafe he goes to sometimes. In one scene, he goes in there, orders the same drink he always does, and two guys in the corner mutter to themselves how he is a ‘nerd’. They say it in a way that suggests they can sense his creepiness.
As the daughter was growing up, her father would wait by her as she rode the mechanical horse ride for children. As she turned into a ‘lady’ as he put it, they stopped that. But when she stood there in her silent demeanour, by the horse, there was a guy there whom kept asking her if she was alright. And then he asked if she wanted to ride the horse, and stuck a coin into the slot. It then cuts to the guy trying to get it on with the butcher’s daughter, but she keeps trying to pull away. Next thing we know, the butcher finds out, tracks the guy down, and beats the living daylights out of him. He gets put in jail for some time. As a result, his lawyer comes into his cell and manages to persuade him to sign the deeds of the butchers over, so that he can get out of jail quicker.
Getting out of jail (and convincing himself he’s not gay due to his cell mate’s offerings), he goes straight to the cafe and orders his drink. The ‘fat woman’ who serves him all the time is still there, and he’s always banging on about how he wants to bang her. And in the end, he does.
Unfortunately, in his perception that is, he gets her pregnant, and he tries to correct this by doing her hard from behind, penetrating the fetus so that it miscarriages. Not my words… I guess the butcher just likes to butcher everything, judging by the way he speaks in his head, and sometimes acts out.
The end of the film ends in an Eraserheadesque flickering of nightmarish images of faces in the dark, and then it’s all over. For a short film, it sure does have quite an effect on you, that’s for sure. Would I watch it again? NO. But did I think it was a good film. YES.
I recommend this to film lovers who:
a. Have a strong stomach.
b. Are open minded.
c. Aren’t vegetarian.
P.S if you can speak french or read French subtitles… voila! The video: