24 Frames: Bluebeard’s Castle (Herzog Blaubarts Burg, Michael Powell, 1963)

Bluebeard’s Castle appears suddenly as the missing link that connects The Tales of Hoffman and Peeping Tom. It combines the incredible visual inventiveness, the surrealistic set design of the first one, and the moral rigor, the peremptory, inescapable and yet deeply compassionate tone of the second. Bluebeard is Mark’s twin brother. Both live in a universe of death and desolation, haunted by terrifying memories of their crimes and broken dreams. Flowers and clouds are tinted with blood like the images filmed by Karl Boehm or the magnetic tapes upon which he recorded the screams of his victims as well as his own cries of fear. In this funereal world, victims seem to long for their destiny or to stage it.