Paris, the summer of 1979. Anne (Vanessa Paradis) is a 40-something gay porn director with titles like Anal Fury and Homocidal under her belt. After her editor and lover Lois leaves her, she tries to win her back by shooting her most ambitious film yet. But a mysterious killer starts murdering her actors one by one.
Yann Gonzalez’s ultra-stylish and gorgeously campy murder mystery Knife + Heart, shot on 35mm, is not merely an ode but a revival and reincarnation of the seventies, the golden age of giallo, grindhouse and porno chic.
“If Dario Argento, Brian De Palma and Kenneth Anger conceived a three-way love child while watching Cruising and listening to a Giorgio Moroder mix tape, the result would be something like French director Yann Gonzalez’s Knife + Heart. /…/ Taking the erotic kitsch and glamorously trashy aesthetics of his many shorts and first feature, You and the Night, to the next level, Gonzalez uses a murder mystery set in the late-’70s gay porn industry to explore deeper themes of desire, abandon and sexual repression, all of it with plenty of humor and blood splatters. /…/ Shot on 35mm by Simon Beaufils and backed by a throbbing retro score from Gallic electro rockers M83 (one of whose founding members is the director’s brother), Knife hits you from its very first frame – and this is really a frame of celluloid and not a file of gigabytes – as a work engulfed in the pleasures of filmmaking’s past.”
– Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
“Yann Gonzalez’s Knife + Heart is a smart film by a smart filmmaker. It’s a movie-lover’s fugue, a tribute to the heyday of gay porn and the grindhouse theatres that showed it /…/ Knife + Heart is high camp on the surface and film school underneath. Gonzalez has a strong sense of what makes those old no-budget pornos fun and an equally strong sense of how and where those films intersect with the likes of Godard and Hitchcock. As a genre exercise, it’s unerring and true. /…/ All of these moments serve as waypoints along the journey of a whodunit that ultimately exposes the cost of intolerance on society, as well as the visceral impact of art on the internal lives of the audience. It’s most assuredly about something. At the end of it, when the murderer is unmasked, it’s not by the detective missing an eyelid (Yann Collette), but by the artist telling her story in the medium of her choice. Knife + Heart is about honouring a voice, torpedoes be damned. It’s great.”
– Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central