La cicatrice intérieure (The Inner Scar) (1972)
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Audience Reviews for La cicatrice intérieure (The Inner Scar)
Nico was a strange woman, and Philippe Garrel is a strange filmmaker.
This brief feature is a must-see if you're intrigued by Nico's mystique (like I am), but is otherwise likely to be dismissed as arty-farty garbage.
There are just seven people in the cast, and at least two of them are trivial. Essentially, most of the "action" involves an auburn-haired Nico (presumably stoned out of her mind, wearing a Christ-like robe) and two silent men walking around desolate, lunar landscapes (locations: Egypt, Iceland and Death Valley) as she adds occasional poetic recitations or anguished laments. The first man is Garrel himself, presented as a devilish dandy in tight red pants, buttoned red vest and a long-sleeved white shirt. He collapses and dies. The next man, an archer, is not dressed at all. Horses, rocks, mountains, ocean, a boat, a cave, a goat herd, a ring of fire and a waterfall are among the visual elements. No man-made structures. Two boys also appear, one of whom spends three minutes grimacing and giggling into the camera while sitting naked on an ice floe. Four or five droning, harmonium-dominated songs from Nico's "Desertshore" album form the soundtrack.
Nico's words have the same dour, nihilistic themes found in her music. At one point, she looks toward us and howls "The sea shall rise over your heads and drown you all. All of you!" Later, she repeatedly proclaims "We can never be here. We can never be here until we've gone."
At the end, a nude man (not the same actor as the archer, though it's hard to tell) passes Nico a ceremonial sword while her song "Konig" ("King") plays. She has successfully completed her enigmatic trial.
"The Inner Scar" contains few words, but lacks an official set of subtitles. Garrel apparently blocked efforts to add them, feeling they would taint the film's purity. Fortunately, the vital dialogue amounts to just four speeches in German and one speech in French. Each lasts about 30 seconds. Grab a bilingual friend or two, and you'll do fine.
Lingering curiosity: Is Nico supposed to be masturbating as the film begins?
Bizarre if not yawn-worthy movie. I enjoyed the first 15 minutes, and then the boat/child scene... the rest were throw aways. A+ on the equal opportunity male nudity though. Also I have no idea what this movie was about.
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