Double Lover, François Ozon’s sexy, twisted new thriller based on a 1987 Joyce Carol Oates short story, opens on Valentine’s Day at Quad Cinema. The Cannes Palme d’Or competitor was called the “kinkiest movie at Cannes” and follows a woman who falls for her psychoanalyst, but soon realizes that all is not as it seems. Like many erotic thrillers, the line between camp and passion is blurry — and that’s part of why we love these films.
The Quad is screening the film as part of their Crimes of Passion: The Erotic Thriller series, which features more than 20 films by some of the usual suspects (De Palma, Verhoeven, Hitchcock) and lesser-known films — to American audiences — like Christopher Frank’s Year of the Jellyfish. The series also makes us pine for more erotic thrillers made by women but includes the classics: Poison Ivy, Bound, and In the Cut. From the Quad:
Among the darker pleasures of moviegoing is the spectacle of men and women enacting scenarios that link illicit sex and less-than-accidental death, sensational events few have experienced but for which some may, perhaps, secretly hunger. Restrictions on what could be shown or spoken yielded decades of film classics that required reading between the lines. But once those cinematic taboos were broken, filmmakers actively pushed the censorship envelope, daring actors to disrobe and dissemble, and holding up a mirror to audiences’ changing mores. By the 1990s, the erotic thriller was a genre and a cottage industry unto itself. In looking forward to the Valentine’s Day release of François Ozon’s delirious psychosexual mystery Double Lover, the Quad turns up the heat with a torrent of risky couplings, deadly obsessions, bad girls, worse guys, criminal behavior, and bodies either heading for each other or heading for the morgue.
Crimes of Passion: The Erotic Thriller runs through Thursday, February 15.
Basic Instinct: Courtesy Everett Collection via Quad Cinema