Deep Crimson

Director: Arturo Ripstein

Mexico-France-Spain| 1992. English subtitles. Colour. Ultra stereo. 114 min.)

The Mexican Film Week in this programme contains a three-film tribute to veteran director Arturo Ripstein, so we’re seizing the opportunity to show another of his films in a double bill with the work that partly inspired it, The Honeymoon Killers. Like a handful of other great filmmakers, including François Truffaut and Michelangelo Antonioni, Ripstein loved Leonard Kastle’s 1969 gem about the American ‘lonely hearts’ murders of the 1940s. The Mexican director was already familiar with the case before seeing Kastle’s film, and said that he never intended a simple remake. Instead, Ripstein freely adapted this North American story of love and murder, located it in a very specific Mexican milieu, and tailored it to fit his preoccupation with characters who exist on the margins of society. ‘Not only marginalised people,’ Ripstein insisted, but ‘people in states of desperation, people at the end of their rope, sinners in the broadest sense, and people who bear guilt in suffering and in despair. I think they make for wonderful, dark storytelling, and that is what I like most.’
Deep Crimson’s Coral (Regina Orozco) is such a character. An overweight lone parent whose youth has passed her by, she falls madly in love with con-man Nicolas (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), who makes a living seducing and robbing women. Abandoning everything—her home, her job, even her children—Coral becomes Nicolas’ partner in crime.
Like Kastle, Ripstein approaches the material as a tale of amour fou, as indicated in the use of a title that refers to the nineteenth-century English writer Thomas de Quincey’s insights on murder and poetic passion. ‘Deep Crimson is more than a crime story,’ the filmmaker said. ‘It is a strange love story. It is about lovers who kill, not killers who become lovers.’

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