Un couteau dans le cœur (Knife + Heart). 2018. France/Mexico/Switzerland. Directed by Yann Gonzalez. Screenplay by Gonzalez, Christiano Mangione. With Vanessa Paradis, Nicolas Maury, Kate Moran, Jonathan Genet, Romane Bohringer. In French; English subtitles. 35mm. 102 min.
Yann Gonzalez’s stylish genre homage is contemporary in its unabashed queerness, but everything else about it—from its loving pastiche of Italian giallo, 1980s slashers, and softcore porn to M83’s retro, synth-heavy score—is rooted squarely in the past. Anne (a terrific Vanessa Paradis), a cut-rate gay-porn director in 1979 Paris, is still reeling (and self-medicating) after a breakup with her lover and film editor, Loïs, when performers in her latest film start falling prey to a screeching, leather-mask-clad killer whose weapon of choice is a switchblade hidden in a dildo. As the body count climbs, Anne becomes ever more determined that the show must go on. Gonzalez revels in the hallmarks of 1970s Continental exploitation horror (quirky psychics, brusque cops, random disfigurements, an incomprehensible plot arising from a moment of outlandish trauma), as he drolly skewers the infamous homo- and transphobic violence of films like Cruising and Sleepaway Camp.