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September 09, 2007

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - 7

Set in 18th century France this is the fictional tale of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. The film is based on the 1985 book by Patrick Suskind. Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) is born on the street and grows up in an orphanage. He is an oddity because his sense of smell is very acute and he has no natural scent of his own. Smell becomes the under-riding metaphor as Grenouille struggles to find his vocation- mostly as a slave, until he is able to become the apprentice of perfumer Giuseppe Baldini (Dustin Hoffman). He soon learns that his goal in life is to preserve the scent of beauty which is the essence and soul of beautiful women. In this way he stumbles into the job of a serial killer. As he kills the women in order to capture their scent for the best perfume in the world. He is eventually caught and condemned to die by death on a cross. And though he finds power in beauty his true longing is to be truly loved, discovering that this is impossible for him, he sacrifices himself. The film confronts the audience with the questions: Is Grenouille supposed to represent Christ or the anti-Christ? In this fable the ambiguity will stay with you for days. It is probably the most provocative, yet beautiful films of 2007.

1 comment:

Hedgee said...

This is another interesting article about the film.