To Lavoisier Who Died in the Reign of Terror (1991) is a collaboration with filmmaker Carl Brown, who specializes in homebrewed chemical film development. In a series of tableaux, people perform everyday tasks — sleeping, dining, reading, card-playing — as the camera arcs past and over them (the replete set of positions recalls La région centrale’s movements). Brown abraded the film stock, creating a continuous dynamic surface-effect tension with the comparatively static views and cueing the soundtrack, the crackle of fire. The physics and chemistry of combustion were the scientific focus of Lavoisier, the 18th-century savant.
It’s 1982, and Taeko is 27 years old, unmarried, and has lived her whole life in Tokyo. She decides to visit her family in the countryside, and as the train travels through the night, memories flood back of her younger years: the first immature stirrings of romance, the onset of puberty, and the frustrations of math and boys.
Bored with her marriage to burnt out poet turned corporate executive Thierry, Zandalee falls prey to an old friend of her husband, the manipulative and egotistical Johhny and becomes enmeshed in a sensual, passionate and destructive affair.
Have you watched To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror yet? What did you think about it?