NEWS: Love Hurts Season @ Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The film of that book’s coming out soon, you know. Yeah, that book. The one where the emotionally abusive yuppie hides his inability to form any kind of equal relationship under the cloak of just being interested in sadomasochistic shenanigans, all those whips and ropes and other equipment used by certain consenting adults as an expression of a shared love and lust instead symbols of the fact that, actually, this dickhead just genuinely despises women. Yeah, that one.

So while The Unmentionable Movie is getting ready to clear up at the box office, the Tyneside Cinema have put together a series of all together more fascinating films that explore the darker side of love – the places where it can turn unusual, shocking or just downright cruel.

First up on Monday 9th February is the film that made a major name of Maggie Gyllenhaal, 1999’s Secretary. The story of a fragile woman who comes under the wing of a boss who has plans drastically different from your typical secretarial work mines much the same area as The Unmentionable Movie, but Secretary succeeds where that upcoming blockbuster fails. This is a strange, surprising movie laced with black humour that succeeds thanks to the kernel of sweetness that lies within it.

Tuesday 10th finds us in far more shocking territory with Pasolini’s horrifying Salo (120 Days of Sodom), based on the infamous work of Marquis de Sade. De Sade’s original novel was intended as a definitive statement of his extreme beliefs, a callous look into the very darkest impulses of man, one that, with a certain irony, ends up more of an expose of the deadening effects of a constant search for new stimulation than the grand assault on social mores that de Sade intended (who new such relentless atrocity could be so bloody boring?) Pasolini’s update retains the stomach-churning brutality, but turns it into a stark parable on the corrupt European society and ring of elites that allowed fascism to take root. It’s as difficult a watch as it gets, but as a revolted denouncement of the failure of civilisation in the twentieth century, it remains a powerful, significant work of art.

Barely more comfortable is Takeshi Miike’s Audition, playing on Wednesday 11th. What begins as an off-beat romantic comedy, in which a widower is persuaded to hold ‘auditions’ for a new partner, turns into psychological horror, as the woman he chooses is revealed to be capable of shocking torture and violence. It’s one of the great masterpieces in the canon of the prolific Miike – and a film whose terror lives long in the memory afterwards.

Finally, on Thursday 12th the season wraps up with David Cronenberg’s adaptation of the J.G. Ballard classic Crash. While Cronenberg had moved on from the splatter of his early work by this point, his status as the master of body horror made him the perfect choice to bring this tale of car-crash fetishism to celluloid. A tour through a dystopian sub-culture of car-crash obsessives, this film provoked fury amongst the moral puritans out there on its 1996 release, with time Crash can be taken as it is: a remarkable, brilliantly made exploration of voyeurism and the effect of technology on our deepest desires.

The Love Hurts Season runs at the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle from Monday 9th February.

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