The City of Unspeakable Fear: Monsters, Drunks and Killer Robots... It's Still the Craziest French Film

The City of Unspeakable Fear: Monsters, Drunks and Killer Robots… It’s Still the Craziest French Film

A Bourville mythical, a murderous automaton, a monster and a bizarre town: The City of Unspeakable FearJean-Pierre Mocky’s hallucinated masterpiece.

Loud and independent legend of French cinema, Jean-Pierre Mocky is a maverick whose silhouette has sometimes eclipsed the films. Evidenced by the countless evocations or portraits established at the turn of the 2000s, resuscitated after his death in 2019, which prominently feature the earthy, spectacular (but rarely questioned or contextualized) images of his Homeric rants. UFO, unclassifiable creator as much as free electron, it will often have been reduced to its own caricature, comical tornado.

Not stingy in outraged positions, in cosmic fions addressed to the profession, he disemboweled as many sacred cows as he contributed to building temples to them. If he gradually became a kind of half-sorcerer half-ogre buffoon, who devoured even his feature films to become nothing more than a machine gun with good words, perhaps reluctantly, perhaps at his advantage, it is imperative to remember his films.

Especially since the latter have more often than not been presented as burnt-out curiosities from the bulb, likeable nanars in which the aristocracy of French cinema rushed to play, just to find old tapes, to kill the time, or to ward off the ingratitude of a forgetful industry.

But Mocky was, was, will remain a filmmaker in his own right. We owe him a few films of disconcerting darkness and political acuitysuch Solo (kind of Get Carter franchouille and anar), or Death to the referee. But there is one, which remained invisible for a long time, which can claim the rank of masterpiece. This is The City of Unspeakable Fear.

Pull hard to open


In the beginning was Jean Ray, a writer of genius and from Belgium, whose posterity in France was most often confined to literary circles. In addition to countless tales, short stories and reports, we owe him several brilliant novels. He made an improbable split between British Gothic literature, surrealism and magical realism.. Erudite and willingly twisting the French language (in which he writes most of his texts), he willingly navigates between the unknown symbolist and poetic vein of a Lovecraft (The Cats of Ulthar) and the influence of William Hope Hodgson.

An explosive mixture which will sometimes earn him to be referred to as Belgian Edgar Allan Poe. A prestigious denomination, but which should not stifle the profound singularity of his work.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *