Review: The Sentiment of the Flesh DVD

The Sentiment of the Flesh DVDSTUDIO: Strand | DIRECTOR: Roberto Garzelli | CAST: Annabelle Hettmann, Thibault Vinçon, Pascal N’Zonzi, Emmanuel Salinger, Claudia Tagbo
RELEASE DATE: 7/26/11 | PRICE: DVD $24.99
SPECS: NR | 91 min. | Foreign language erotic drama | widescreen | stereo | French with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

The Sentiment of the Flesh movie scene

Annabelle Hettmann and Thibault Vincon get to know each other's bodies in The Sentiment of the Flesh.

In 2010 film The Sentiment of the Flesh, Roberto Garzelli’s pas de deux of psycho-sexual obsession, full body CAT scans becomes an act of love.

Helena (Annabelle Hettmann), a student of anatomical art, suffers from lower back pain. Doctors take x-rays and assure her nothing is wrong, but she remains unsatisfied. Is it hypochondria or something more? Then she meets Benoit (Thibault Vinçon), a radiologist and anatomy instructor. Their attraction is seemingly normal at first, but soon their need to share themselves physically deteriorates into something truly disturbing.

Played against the antiseptic, de-personalized backdrop of a medical facility, the movie portrays the body as the last refuge of individuality. “Each body is atypical,” Benoit instructs his class, before he and Helena engage in passionate sex scenes that are shot in sparsely furnished, brightly lit rooms.

Roberto Garzelli, a first-time feature film director who previously worked as an assistant editor on movies by Marco Ferreri and Roman Polanski (The Ghost Writer), finds moments of dark comedy in Sentiment. When Benoit sees a student looking at pictures of Helena’s x-rays in a medical journal, he cannot control his jealousy. Her x-rays are like their private Polaroids.

The cast is small, which gives the leads a sense of isolation and adds to the intensity of their relationship. Vinçon and Hettmann offer fearless, committed performances, and their bodies, which are generously displayed, are attractive in a natural, “unsculpted” way.

As science seems to explain away all our mysteries, we delve deeper and find even greater ones. The Sentiment of the Flesh is a film that is all the more frightening because it is so coolly analytical.

The DVD offers just the movie, no special features.


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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.