Le Parfum – histoire d’un meurtrier

Perfume : the story of a murderer

Tom Tykwer :: France, Spain, Germany :: 2006 :: 2h27

The twisted tale of the unfortunate Jean-Baptiste, from his birth as an odorless, insignificant dropping to the summon of his ability, passing through the worst life life can offer. Jean-Baptiste Genouille is, despite his barely human existence, gifted with an unsurpassed sense of smell. It is this one sense which guides him through his wretched life, gets him employed as the assistant to one of the great perfumers of Paris. But Paris can not teach him the skills he needs to complete his sensorial life’s ambition, and Jean-Batiste sets off down south to capital of perfume – Grasse. Unfortunately for them, Grasse opens up their gates to welcome him in.

The originality of the plot is unsurpassed, as all those who have been impressed by the novel will know. To keep the some of the beauty of the book, Tykwer choose a narrative voice to accompany the impressive photography. I think the choice is wise one, given the obscurity of the tale, even if it weakens the film. Curiously enough, there are other weakening factors: the imagery could have been darker at times and the music could have been heavier to digest. These elements, as they stand, alleviate the film, distracting the viewer from the deranged essence of the tale. But do not let that withhold you to be voluntarily dragged through the despicable, immoral stench which characterizes Jean-Batiste’s life… it is an impressive, aesthetic oddity to witness!



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