The Taser's Edge

Water Drops on Burning Rocks (Gouttes d’eau sur pierres brûlantes, dir. Francois Ozon, 2000)

Before seeing the trailer, but after seeing the film, I was going to look for this particular odd dancing scene.  The characters, from left to right, are Anna, Leopold, Vera, and Franz.  They are the only characters in the entire movie, and this apartment is the only setting.

Anna: Franz’s fiance, the girlfriend Franz didn’t love before he met Leopold and doesn’t love now, even though he has agreed to leave Leopold in order to marry her.  Anna is Leopold’s latest prey.

Leopold: 50-year-old businessman and sometime pimp to his lovers.  Lover at one time or another to all three others.  Also could be called the Fat Spider at the center of the web.  When asked by other characters why they should stay with\sleep with\love him, his response is icy: “You need me.”

Vera: Leopold’s great love from ten years earlier, who, when his desire for her cooled, had a sex change and became a woman just to give him something new.  (The newness didn’t last long, but the sex change did, as did Vera’s love for Leopold.)

Franz: At age 20, he went home with Leopold one night, and then basically never left Leopold’s apartment again, putting his life (including marriage plans with Anna) on hold indefinitely.

The big question the movie left me with was whether someone (Leopold) really could have the power to keep so many others in his web, despite how deeply, openly, and often he manipulates and betrays them.  Is such a character (and the characters drawn to him) actually realistic in any way?

Sickeningly to me, I think the answer is yes.