Frontier(s)

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Frontier(s)
Frontiersposter.jpg
Original theatrical poster
Directed byXavier Gens
Produced byLaurent Tolleron
Written byXavier Gens
Starring
Music byJean-Pierre Taieb
CinematographyLaurent Barès
Edited byCarlo Rizzo
Production
company
Distributed byEuropaCorp
Release date
  • 1 July 2007 (2007-07-01) (Agde Film Festival[citation needed])
  • 23 January 2008 (2008-01-23) (France)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
Country
  • France
  • Switzerland[2]
Language
  • French
  • German
Budget$3 million

Frontier(s) (French: Frontière(s)) is a 2007 horror film written and directed by Xavier Gens and stars Estelle Lefébure, Samuel Le Bihan and Aurélien Wiik. It follows a group of young criminals from Paris who lodge at a countryside inn run by neo-Nazis in the aftermath of riots spurred by a controversial presidential election.

After its premiere in France at the Agde Film Festival in 2007, the film was given a limited release with an NC-17 rating in the United States on May 9, 2008, as part of the After Dark Horrorfest.[3]

Plot[edit]

A far-right candidate is elected to the French presidency, sparking riots in Paris. Hoping to escape Paris but needing cash, a street gang made up of Muslim Arab youths; Alex (Aurélien Wiik), Tom (David Saracino), Farid (Chems Dahmani), the pregnant Yasmine (Karina Testa), and her brother Sami (Adel Bencherif) take advantage of the chaos to pull off a robbery. Sami is shot and the group splits up: Alex and Yasmine take Sami to a hospital, and Tom and Farid take the money to a family-run inn near the border. Innkeepers Gilberte (Estelle Lefébure) and Klaudia (Amélie Daure) claim their rooms are free and seduce the two men.

At the hospital, the emergency room staff report Sami's injury to the police. Sami insists Yasmine run before the police catch her. His dying wish is that Yasmine not have an abortion. Alex and Yasmine flee, leaving the fatally wounded Sami behind. Alex and Yasmine phone their friends for directions to the inn. Tom and Farid give them directions but soon after are brutally attacked by Gilberte, Klaudia, and Goetz (Samuel Le Bihan). When Tom and Farid try to escape, Goetz runs their car off a cliff. The injured men wander into a mine shaft, where Tom is quickly recaptured. Farid must fend for himself in the mine with the family's rejected children. Unaware of the danger, Alex and Yasmine arrive at the inn and are captured by the family.

Alex and Yasmine are chained in a muddy-floored pig pen. Alex breaks Yasmine's chains and allows her to escape. When the captors discover Yasmine's escape, the family patriarch, von Geisler (Jean-Pierre Jorris), cuts Alex's Achilles tendons. Meanwhile, in the mine, Farid finds the storage area for the victims. The family realizes something is amiss in the mine, and Hans (Joël Lefrançois) chases Farid into a boiler where Farid is cooked alive. Yasmine flees from the inn but is quickly picked back up by Goetz. Back in the pig pen, von Geisler personally grants Alex's last wish, which is to be put down quickly. Initially, von Geisler wishes for Karl (Patrick Ligardes) to "wed" Yasmine to carry on the family lineage, but when von Geisler learns she is already pregnant, he entrusts her to the meek Eva (Maud Forget), who tells Yasmine that she came to the family in a very similar manner and that she is obedient because the family promised her that her parents would return for her some day. Eva also tells Yasmine of the rejected homeless children she and Hans care for in the mine.

Eventually, Eva leads Yasmine down to dinner, where the family awaits her. Von Geisler is revealed to be a former (and still practicing) Nazi who's lived at the inn since the end of WWII. Von Geisler offers up a toast to the new blood and Yasmine quickly grabs a large knife and takes von Geisler hostage. Hans grabs a shotgun and shoots and kills von Geisler in the confusion; Karl shoots Hans dead in turn. Yasmine escapes and is chased by Karl and Goetz into the mine. Yasmine eventually makes her way into one of the body storage rooms where she fights with Goetz. After a bloody struggle, she repeatedly hits him with an axe before impaling him on a rotating table saw. Karl catches Yasmine as she tries to return to the surface, but Eva comes to the rescue, blowing off Karl's head with a shotgun. Yasmine searches for car keys to escape, but is ambushed by Gilberte and Klaudia bearing sub-machine guns. During the shootout, Yasmine hits a gas tank, blowing up the room. Gilberte survives the explosion and attempts to kill Yasmine only to have her throat torn out by her. With everyone else in the neo-Nazi family dead, Yasmine tries to persuade Eva to leave with her, but Eva stays to take care of the children in the mine. On the road, Yasmine runs into a police blockade near the border where she surrenders to the authorities.

Cast[edit]

Release[edit]

Frontier(s) was intended to be one of the 8 Films to Die For at Horrorfest 2007, but when the MPAA gave the film an NC-17 rating, it was instead released unrated to ten US theaters for one weekend, grossing $9,913. It was released on DVD the following week.[4] Frontière(s) was released in France on 23 January 2008.[2]

Reception[edit]

Frontier(s)'s crew at Fantastic'Arts 2008 festival

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised the film, writing: "There’s enough blood in the unrated French horror film Frontier(s) to satiate even the most ravenous gore hounds. The real surprise here is that this creepy, contemporary gross-out also has some ideas, visual and otherwise, wedged among its sanguineous drips, swaying meat hooks and whirring table saw."[5] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian awarded the film two out of five stars, calling it "One for hardcore fans only."[6] Writing for The Village Voice, Jim Ridley noted: "Ah, the triumph of globalization: Give the French a taste of neo-fascism, race riots, and paramilitary crackdowns, and they seek solace in the American cinema’s current favorite pastime—vigorously art-directed torture porn."[7]

John Anderson of Variety compared the film to Hostel (2005) and Saw (2004), adding: "Frontier(s) is a 100-minute hemorrhage that doesn't bring anything to the operating table of torture-porn but more gore, cruelty and misery. Which for some, of course, may be enough."[8]

Internet film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 55%, based on 20 reviews, with a rating average of 5.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Perhaps slapdash with its aspirations toward message-making, this ultra-gory horror flick nonetheless delivers the bloody goods".[9] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 44 out of 100, based on 5 reviews.[10]

Critical analysis[edit]

Frontier(s) has been cited by film scholars as an example of the New French Extremity,[11] horror films produced in France which depict visceral horror and extreme violence.[12] Alexandra West notes that Frontier(s) is "about the evolution of the extreme right in France," and that it explores the "untended elements of society, the sections which are allowed to remain in realities that no longer exist in urban settings."[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FRONTIERE(S) - FRONTIER(S) (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 21 November 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Frontière (s) (2006) Xavier Gens" (in French). Bifi.fr. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  3. ^ Amner, Darren. "Horror's New Frontiers". EyeForFilm. Archived from the original on September 21, 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  4. ^ Oliver, David (1 July 2008). "DVD REVIEW: AFTER DARK HORRORFEST 2007 – FRONTIER(S)". CHUD.com. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  5. ^ Dargis, Manohla (9 May 2008). "After Making It Out of Paris, Finding There's No Escape". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  6. ^ Bradshaw, Peter. "Frontier(s)". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 November 2017. 2/5 stars
  7. ^ Ridley, Jim. "Xavier Gens's Frontière(s)". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  8. ^ Anderson, John (17 September 2007). "Frontier(s)". Variety. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012.
  9. ^ "Frontier(s) Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  10. ^ "Frontier(s) (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  11. ^ Palmer, Tim; Michael, Charlie, eds. (2013). Directory of World Cinema: France. Intellect Books. p. 293. ISBN 978-1-841-50563-3.
  12. ^ a b West, Alexandra (2016). Films of the New French Extremity: Visceral Horror and National Identity. McFarland. pp. 132–4. ISBN 978-1-476-62511-9.

External links[edit]