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From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
Subject: Review: Daguerreotype (2017)
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Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2017 07:30:29 -0800 (PST)
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Subject: Review: Daguerreotype (2017)
From: Mark Leeper <mleeper@optonline.net>
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               (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a writer and director almost 
    unknown in the United States, is superb at creating an 
    atmosphere of dread and suspense as he did with PULSE.  
    This film is a cut below that film.  A famous fashion 
    photographer takes daguerreotype pictures of his daughter 
    in memory of his dead wife.  His new photographic 
    assistant has his own ideas that will stir things up.  
    Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10

I just do not know what happened to talented film director Kiyoshi 
Kurosawa.  He had made a small handful of sublimely creepy horror 
films, but after then he seems to have decided to just avoid that 
style of the horror genre.  Either that or his films stopped coming 
to the United States.  His CURE (1997) was a police procedural 
involving a man who could just brush against someone in the street 
and that innocent person immediately became an unstoppable killer.  
His PULSE (2001) involved hell filling up and the damned returning 
to Earth.  His SEANCE (2000) was a remake of the film SEANCE ON A 
WET AFTERNOON with supernatural implications the original film did 
not have.  Sadly, of his work few films seem to have come to our 
shores.  Now in short order two of his films have appeared, but 
they are nowhere the quality of PULSE.  DOPPELGANGER (2003) is 
rather tedious and DAGUERREOTYPE (2016) is a simple melodrama with 
a sadly predictable ending.

Stephane (played by Olivier Gourmet) is a famous fashion 
photographer.  His hobby is daguerreotype photography.  He used to 
take daguerreotype pictures of his wife, but she died, leaving him 
scarred by the loss.  Instead he takes daguerreotype pictures of 
his daughter, Marie (Constance Rousseau).  The daguerreotype 
process is extremely taxing on the subject who must remain totally 
motionless for fifty to seventy minutes while the image is etched 
in steel plate.  Stephane turns a blind eye to the pain and 
discomfort he is subjecting his daughter to.  He hires a new 
assistant to help him, Jean (Tahar Rahim). Jean becomes fixated on 
the beautiful Marie.  But Stephane possesses Marie.  And Jean wants 
to loosen his grip her.

The pacing is slow and some shots could have been a little more 
closely cropped.  The film's 121 minutes could have been cut back a 
bit.  But the film is undeniably atmospheric.  The first half of 
the film contributes far more atmosphere than plot, but that 
reinforces the overall grimness of the circumstances.  This is 
Kurosawa's first film to be shot outside of Japan.  The film is in 
French and takes place in France.

Kurosawa is a master of subtle silent scares.  He could be the Val 
Lewton of Japanese film.  But style without story for it to serve 
is incomplete and is a pointless exercise.  If Kurosawa is not 
going to meld story and style I can only suggest that he study his 
earlier, creepier horror films.  I rate DAGUERREOTYPE a +1 on the -
4 to +4 scale or 6/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


[Note: Kiyoshi Kurosawa is not related to Akira Kurosawa.]

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper