While Paul Bartel’s “Eating Raoul” was distributed by the “classics” division of a major studio (in this case, 20th Century Fox) back in 1982, it’s still one of the best “indie” films of that decade (when “indie” actually meant something). It’s also one of the funniest. The premise is genius. A financially struggling couple, Paul and Mary Bland (played by Bartel and Andy Warhol/Roger Corman regular Mary Woronov), can’t seem to break out of their dead-end jobs to achieve their dream of opening a restaurant. Since their apartment building is overrun with rich perverts and swingers, they come up with the genius notion of luring these lovely folks to their apartment with an ad in a swingers newspaper, killing them, and then stealing their money. Trouble ensues when they bring in locksmith/burglar Raoul as a business partner who helps them dispose of the bodies. Despite “Raoul”‘s grim, blacker-than-black subject matter, the movie is actually very sweet (though it feels odd to say that, given the perverse subject matter). A great example of how you can handle otherwise offensive subject matter in a funny, relatively non-offensive way. However, it still more than earns its R-rating, so probably not the best film to show your parents or people you don’t know that well. The Criterion Collection just released a lovely Blu-Ray version of “Raoul” with all the extras you would expect from them. Dave says check it out.
A wonderful movie. As you have deliberately not named that “perverse subject matter” I will just say that the Bland’s apartment, filled with fabulous fifties furniture, is my dream home.
I have always liked “Scenes From The Class Struggle…”. Having recently watched “La Regle du Jeu” again I must keep an eye out for it. Bartel, sneaking Bunuel & Renoir into his movies, was a class act.
I dig the fabulous fifties furniture as well. Of course, no one knew in 1982 that mid-century modern style would come back in a big way several years later. Living on the West Coast of the U.S.A., you see a lot of that, some terrific, some dreadful. But it’s a selling point, especially in this dire real estate market.
I haven’t seen “Scenes From the Class Struggle” but it always intrigued me. The cast, including Woronov, Jacqueline Bisset, and Ray Sharkey always seemed especially inspired. I’ll need to check it out. Bartel’s ultra-weird, funny, and perverse thriller “Private Parts” from 1972 (not to be confused with the 1997 Howard Stern film) is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it.