jump to navigation

Coup de grâce in Tom Tykwer’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) October 30, 2007

Posted by Richard Bolisay in Cinemalaya, Literature.

Directed by Tom Tykwer
Written by Andrew Birkin, Bernd Eichinger, and Tom Tykwer
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman
Based on the novel Das Perfum by Patrick Süskind

Perfume: The Story of A Murderer chronicles the extraordinary life of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a man whose incredible sense of smell commands reverence, not to mention a mass orgy including a bishop, his psychedelic exploits, his impulse to kill a number of virgin women for the sake of the most perfect scent in the world, and his overstated obsession — all captured in a state of delirium, a rare display of cinematic might in esteemed providence.

Run Lola Run may be the film that he would most likely be remembered, with all its postmodern touches and thrills, but Tom Tykwer proves that a set of expectations from his critics can never pull him down. Contrary to the somersaults of Lola and the sluggishness of The Princess and the Warrior, Perfume is a daring adaptation of Patrick Süskind’s novel, filled with lyricism of 18th century Paris, and a look at the incisive diligence to craft of its mad protagonist. Its images define sensuous: they resemble moving paintings — both the innate calmness of impressionism and the brutality and horror of expressionist works. Grenouille’s nihilism is intensified by Tykwer’s insistence on his style, the MTV-ish cutting and Brechtian techniques, from his birth in savagery to his glorious, cannibalistic death; although here his style is less imminent and effective. It’s good that he hasn’t lost himself yet, even in a grim, century-old setting like this wherein I can smell even the dirt inside Grenouille’s fingers. The raging obsession that engulfs him — a universe of olfactory thrills to satisfy his quest — and the women, their skin, their hair, their distinct air of grace, who sacrifice for his existence, his fleeting walks of impertinence, and his personal odour taken away from him even before his umbilical cord was ripped by his mother in such rancor, whom he thinks the only thing that separates one from the other, the only reason of living in this world — its marvelous hand reaches a heavenly respite. Perfume is a spiritual awakening, but more humane and perceptive.

One says that the true test of successful adaptation is when it manages to stand on its own: in that case Perfume is even performing a deliberate headstand. If cinema is capable of turning some of the vilest acts of mankind into grandeur, into a paradise of hellish luminance, then it eludes me what it is capable of not doing. * * * *


1. nylusmilk - October 30, 2007

i much prefer the book to the movie. that said, i do admit that the movie is good in its own right. :)

2. kizay - October 30, 2007

maganda yung movie but i have yet to finish the book. in fairness, hindi ko ineexpect na ganun yung ending pero dhil baka hindi ko pa nabasa. but the orgy was memorable.

3. lilokpelikula - October 31, 2007

nylusmilk: where have you bought the book? in local bookstores? i wish to read it. yeah i agree — the film has its own virtues worthy of appreciation as well. to us who haven’t read the book, it satisfies. thanks for visiting. :D

4. lilokpelikula - October 31, 2007

kz: the orgy — it was glorious to the point of exorcised madness. ganun din yung end sa libro ata e. basa ko. hehe. eram!!

5. kizay - November 1, 2007

WAHAHAHAHA. love the description of the orgy — glorious. actually nung pinapakita yung priest na kasama sa orgy, ewan ko kung ako lang but its not that blasphemous. or maybe it’s just me na hypnotized din…

6. nylusmilk - November 1, 2007

actually i borrowed the book, though i’m sure it’s available in any major bookstore around the world. perfume was written by Patrick Süskind.

7. el pistolero - November 2, 2007

i wish i did see this film. hay…

8. lilokpelikula - November 2, 2007

kz: hypnotic talaga. but i read some people didn’t like the film because of the narration. they said it wasn’t able to “translate” süskind’s words into visuals. i’m not sure if that’s possible anyway.

nylusmilk: i tried looking in local bookstores but they said it’s out of stock. (actually, my budget is only for booksale. hahaha)

kirk: palabas pa ata a. subukan mo tingnan. uy baka magkabungguan ulit tayo sa sinehan a. :D

9. kizay - November 2, 2007

actually, narrated naman din sa book so kaya ganun yung ginawa. anyway mahirap naman talagang i-translate ang libro sa isang pelikula.

10. lilokpelikula - November 2, 2007

the one i’m referring to earlier was jessica zafra. must’ve irked her. haha. anyway, sana makahanap ako nung libro.

11. tonet - November 3, 2007

grabe, sobrang astig ng pelikulang to. i watched it on DVD, at naalala ko, na-bore ako sa simula, pero nung lumaon, napapatulala na lang ako sa mga eksena, lalo yung sa parke. grabe. grabe. grabe. i was raving about this movie to my friends, all animated (?) and OA.

12. lilokpelikula - November 5, 2007

haha, naalala ko nga nung tineks mo ko nung napanuod mo e. kala ko sa french spring mo napanuod. astig, astig nga. adik lang si jean-baptiste. :D

13. Abi - November 6, 2007

It’s available in Fully Booked. :D 500+. :D

14. lilokpelikula - November 6, 2007

Thanks Abi, pag-iipunan ko yan. Haha. Would there be a chance of finding one in Booksale? Kuripot. :D

15. bittergrace - November 14, 2007

btw, si ben whishaw is one of the dylan’s in I’m Not There. haha. pero kawawa siya, wala siyang poster. lahat nung iba (Blanchett, Bale, Ledger, Gere) meron.

16. lilokpelikula - November 14, 2007

wow — any news that it will be brought here? nako sayang naman kung sa dvd lang natin sya posible mapanuod. :(

17. bittergrace - November 14, 2007

wala pa. alam mo naman, baka hindi siya pang commercial release. baka ala perfume, sa ayala malls lang. haha.

18. lilokpelikula - November 15, 2007

then, let’s see it!! haha, like a rolling stone :D

19. free spirit - June 14, 2008

I haven’t read the book but I’ve seen the movie twice and I think it’s great!

20. noriz - February 19, 2009

mahal ko sya. yung pelikula. 2009 ko lang napanood nang ilabas sa cable. gusto kong mabasa ang nobela kasi, syempre, kadalasan, mas dama ang katauhan at saloobin sa letra, kaysa larawan.

2 beses ko sya napanood, sa cable. malakas pa rin ang sipa.

hanap ako ng kopya sa bookstore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: