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Knife + Heart.jpg
Theatrical release poster
FrenchUn couteau dans le cœur
LiterallyA Knife in the Heart
Directed byYann Gonzalez
Produced byCharles Gillibert
Written by
  • Yann Gonzalez
  • Cristiano Mangione
Music byM83
CinematographySimon Beaufils
Edited byRaphaël Lefèvre
Distributed byMemento Films (France)
Release date
  • 17 May 2018 (2018-05-17) (Cannes)
  • 27 June 2018 (2018-06-27) (France)
  • 17 May 2019 (2019-05-17) (Mexico)
Running time
102 minutes
  • France
  • Mexico
  • Switzerland[1]
Budget€3.4 million[2]
Box office$341,847[3]

Knife+Heart (French: Un couteau dans le cœur, lit. 'A Knife in the Heart') is a 2018 horror-thriller film[4] directed by Yann Gonzalez, who co-wrote the screenplay with Cristiano Mangione. It was produced by Charles Gillibert and stars Vanessa Paradis, Nicolas Maury, Kate Moran, Jonathan Genet and Romane Bohringer. An international co-production of France, Mexico and Switzerland, the film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.[5][6]


A young man dances in a nightclub. He spots a man wearing a leather mask and goes with him to a room to have sex. The masked man then straps him to a bed and kills him with a dildo converted as a switchblade. In the summer of 1979 in Paris, Anne, a producer and director of gay pornography, is abandoned by her girlfriend and editor, Loïs. Anne's best friend and actor Archibald is trying to maintain a good environment for the actors while they shoot Anne's next film. After being contacted and questioned by the police, it is revealed that the young man from the beginning, Karl, had starred in many of Anne's films. Karl's death forces Anne to find another actor; she meets a young miner named Nans, who despite being heterosexual agrees to star in her upcoming film. Anne decides to center the film on Karl's murder, naming it Anal Fury V.

Later, the killer murders Thierry, another of the film's actors, while he injects heroin. The whole studio is now frightened by the murders and the police's failure to protect them. Still confident, Anne hires four more actors to continue filming the film, now retitled Homocidal. The crew manages to finish the film and celebrate with a picnic in a forest. During the picnic, Anne is visited by Loïs to try to reconcile their relationship but are interrupted by a storm. Meanwhile, Misia, another actor, gets lost in the forest and is murdered by the masked killer.

In a manic state, Anne chases after Loïs and sexually assaults her. Loïs runs away, leaving Anne deeply devastated. After three more deaths, Anne tries to convince the police to protect them, but they dismiss her. However, an officer gives her a clue: in each crime scene, a crow feather was found next to the corpse. Anne contacts a pet shop to learn more about the feather and is told that it belongs to a species of blind crow. Anne travels to a small town where its forest houses the species.

In the forest, she spots a cemetery where a lonely woman is grieving. The woman tells Anne the story of her son Guy Favre, who had a secret affair with his friend Hicham. After the couple had sex in a barn, Guy's father caught them. He murdered Hicham, castrated Guy, and burned the barn with Guy inside. Guy's mother tells Anne that Guy managed to survive, albeit horribly disfigured. That night, Anne receives newspaper clippings of Guy's murder and realises that he is the killer. Intent on setting a trap for Guy, she tells the crew to film another scene with Archibald as the main actor. Meanwhile, Loïs is editing the latest scene from Homocidal when she spots Guy in the footage.

Back at the shooting, the film does not make any progress, which leads to an improvising that involves mini-blackouts. As these unfold, Guy appears and murders actor Luis and attempts to murder Anne. Loïs arrives and intervenes, which causes her to get stabbed by Guy. She dies in Anne's arms as Guy escapes. Sometime later, Anne and Nans attend the premiere of Homocidal at an adult movie theater. Guy is also there, seating near to Nans. After the film ends, another of Anne's films begins playing; she realises that the murdered actors all starred in a scene which recreated Guy's tragic story, and that he wants revenge by murdering all those involved, including Anne.

In a dark room, Guy attempts but is unable to murder Nans due to his physical resemblance to Hicham. Just as he is about to attack him, he is interrupted by Anne. Guy takes another man hostage and runs to another film screening, where the audience of gay men attack and kill him as payback for the fear he created in the community. In a flashback, Guy and Hicham's tragic love story is recalled with an addition: a blind crow who revives the disfigured Guy after the fire. He suffered amnesia and went to live in Paris; his rage was later triggered when he watched Anne's film. The film ends with Anne shooting her latest film and reconciling with Loïs' spirit.



Katie Rife of The A.V. Club gave the film a grade of "B", calling it an "unabashedly queer tribute to the sleazier side of giallo cinema" and concluding: "Gonzalez seems to want us to admire the sex and violence rather than be aroused or frightened by them, a distinction that makes this perverse little thriller more of an intellectual pleasure than a prurient one. Still, maybe don't watch it with your mom."[7]


  1. ^ "KNIFE+HEART". Miami Film Festival. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Un couteau dans le coeur (2018) - JPBox-Office". Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Knife+Heart". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Knife + Heart". Time Out. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  5. ^ "The 2018 Official Selection". Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  6. ^ Keslassy, Elsa. "Cannes Adds Lars von Trier's 'The House That Jack Built,' Sets Terry Gilliam's 'Don Quixote' as Closer". Variety. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  7. ^ Rife, Katie (14 March 2019). "Giallo Gets a Porno-Chic Makeover in the Kinky, Queer, and Colorful Knife + Heart". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 14 March 2019.

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