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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Thriller > Surrealism > Japan > The Bite (1965) + Avida (2006/Cinema Epoch)

The Bite (1965) + Avida (2006/Cinema Epoch)


Picture: C+     Sound: C/C+     Extras: C-/D     Films: C+



Cinema Epoch has picked two interesting black and white films that are worth seeing and have their interesting moments to boot.  One is a stylish Japanese thriller called The Bite about a male prostitute, his female counterparts and murder, while Avida is a surreal Freaks/Eraserhead type of surreal tale about two zookeepers and a mute animal handler who intend to kidnap the pitbulls of a very large, wealthy woman played by large-size model Velvet D’Amour.


Turns out she likes to think about the human body’s slow decay after death and is not for sure how she wants to be dealt with when she leaves her dead corpse behind.  It is that kind of film, but it is consistent and if you can stand the quirkiness and focus on death.  Co directors Gustave de Kervern and Benoit Delepine accomplish their goal of surrealism in this kind of monochrome world.


The Bite is smart, slick, owes something to the French New Wave and Director Kan Mukai (aka Hiroshi Mukai) adds some erotic subtext that is as stylish as anything, making the world within all the more seductive.  I also liked the look of the film, a modernist Japan Jean Luc-Godard could have appreciated and I only wish it had gone on longer.  Only 63 minutes, it still delivers more than most films twice its length and much fun.


The letterboxed 2.35 X 1 scope image on The Bite is sadly not anamorphically enhanced like the 1.78 X 1 image on Avida, but both have good black and white for their period.  The former has the clean, clear type in the last glory days of real black and white, while the later is inky and heavy as if to make sure it does not look like the grayish, non-silverized monochrome most productions are made in today.  Both also have Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, with the former in Japanese Mono and the latter in simple stereo.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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