In what could be called a loving homage to all those Art House films, including the French New Wave cinema that took the world by storm in the 1950s and ’60s, Trilogie De Tragedie is a pseudo three act offering complete with French subtitles. The three segments, done by different directors all feature Tiffani Fest.
The first installment; “Meek Marianne” is directed by Blake Fitzpatrick and it features Fest as Marianne. The sunglasses wearing, vodka guzzling woman teams up with Rich (Fitzpatrick). The two head over to Marianne’s soon to be ex’s house for some money and a bit of payback. Horror icon Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp, Return to Sleepaway Camp) has a cameo as Cindy.
The second segment; “La Petite Mort” (The Little Death) is about entitled self expression artist Alexandre (Peter Lofstrom) whose girlfriend/drug dealer is played by Tiffani Fest. Alexandre tattoos himself, is waited on by his father and practically sends Trina round the bend with his fixation on self.
Last in the trilogy of tales is Hollywood Hospitality. A dialogue heavy story that could be the Peg Entwistle tale in reverse. Tiffany is an out of work actor who cannot believe her luck when widower Evan (Andrew Mandapat) hires homeless actress to read for the part of his dead wife.
The first vignette really feels a cross between French noir and New Wave. The other two offerings were different in texture and while both were in the black and white medium they lacked the noir touch.
For those who have frequented the old Art House’s to see world cinema releases “pre” home entertainment, the look of these three films will feel familiar. The soundtracks, too loud and an overabundance of subtitles brings back those days when film’s like Jules et Jim could only be seen in New York or some other metropolitan city with an Art House.
(Or conversely seen after midnight on BBC 2 during a retrospective in the early ’80s. The channel aired a scratched and damaged copy of the film, not as bad as these films but enough that it was noticeable.)
Trilogie De Tragedie is a New Wave version of Tarantino and Rodriguez’ “Grindhouse” project (Death Proof and Planet Terror) mimicking the jump cuts and bad edits of the worn celluloid. Foreign films were also put through the mill being shown over and over at different small cinemas until they were very difficult to watch.
The film is interesting to watch and entertaining. Regrettably there were bits that ran too long and the overly loud soundtrack became annoying after a while. (Struggling to hear dialogue over an intrusive soundtrack is a personal pet peeve.)
“Meek Marianne” – written and directed by Blake Fitzpatrick was done very well and was easily the smoothest of the three segments. It was nice to see Felissa Rose, even if it was only for a short time.
“Hollywood Hospitality” (Brad Paulson helmed and wrote the last offering) was a twist on the old Peg Entwistle myth but with an interesting O. Henry type end. This tale ran too long and was far too “talky” but, once again, taking the New Wave motif to heart, it felt right at home in the trilogy.
Trilogie De Tragedie is a solid 3 star film. It would have garnered another star for cleverness alone, but it ran too long, and stretched the joke thin. Even with the amusing sight gags and references to world cinema of old, it just felt too long. That said, it is still worth watching. Fans of the old Art House offerings and foreign films from the ’50s and ’60s will appreciate this film.
Film School students will also get a kick out this offering, provided they have not seen too many “restored” versions of “classics.”