Sunday, May 07, 2017

L'inconnu de Shandigor (Jean-Louis Roy, 1967)

L'inconnu de Shandigor is a Eurospy parody in the vein of Joseph Losey's Modesty Blaise from just the year before. But where the latter draws out some emotional resources from what feels like a personal project for Losey, L'inconnu de Shandigor rests content with poking fun at the genre. Granted, it does so with curious longueurs and absolutely gorgeous photography courtesy of cinematographer Roger Bimpage. Damn near every frame is screenshot-worthy. And Serge Gainsbourg is in there somewhere playing a cog in some sort of international espionage intrigue. I assume only suckers will follow the narrative trajectory closely. It's all quite wacky and inventive. But that's all it is and too soon, wacky and inventive becomes dreary and exhausting. As with the similarly flashy and empty Les idoles, L'inconnu de Shandigor pats itself on the back for its deep knowledge of and play with genre conventions. So you can pat along with the creators or you could choose a weightier option, say, the forgotten Joan Crawford-Fred MacMurray spy-nonsense thriller Above Suspicion (Richard Thorpe, 1943).

Oh another thing it shares with Les idoles - a grasp of rock 'n' roll as capitalist tool (yawns).



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