Death in Love


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Here's another cheery film. This time the source of jubilation is holocaust survivor guilt. The story takes place in 1993 and Jacqueline Bisset stars as an aging Jewish mother who compromised herself during her stay at a WW2 concentration camp, exchanging - well, whatever was necessary - to stay alive. In the present, she torments herself for the guilt she feels about having had a comfortable life while her friends all died around her, all because she was willing to become the concubine of a sadistic Nazi who specialized in experimental surgery. She also torments everyone around her with arrogant rages.

She married a weakling and, as you might expect, raised two sons with serious emotional problems. The older is a misogynist who exploits women in many ways, personal and professional, and whose sex life consists of S&M. The younger son is an introverted pianist who is virtually incapable of human contact, and conducts his own sex life vicariously through his brother.

In some hands this premise might have had the potential to deliver an Oscar-winning drama, or at least that potential might have existed if some of the ideas were not already overworked to the point of being hackneyed. For example, several elements in this film, including some of the mother's secrets portrayed in the 1993 sequences, evoke memories of The Night Porter. In the hands of this auteur, however, the film comes off as not merely a copycat, but as having copied something which was not a very good idea to begin with, thus making the entire project seem like an exploitive exercise in Holocaust Grand Guignol. There are some bloody surgery scenes intercut with sex scenes, and also some rough sex of the non-surgical variety. Making matters worse, the dialogue is artificial, like something out of a 1930's stage play.

After its Sundance debut it just more or less disappeared for 18 months before arriving quietly on home media. That is an indication of its total lack of commercial appeal, and the ultimate statement on its artistic appeal is that it was poorly received at Sundance in 2008. Think about that - the Sundance crowd turning their manicured thumbs down on a Holocaust movie - and you'll think twice before spending any time on it.

On the other hand, it does allow you to experience all the depression and despair and pretentiousness of an "art" film with none of that actual pesky art or originality to get in the way.

If that's your bag, man.


Not currently available


39 (of 100)


6.8 IMDB summary (of 10)


No release.



Vanessa Kai and Morena Baccarin show T&A.

There are some other breasts, but they are from unknowns, and the scene has everything possible to make your erection disappear. Pretentious narration, holocaust cruelty, graphic surgery, old people. OK, maybe not EVERYTHING. There's no Rosie O'Donnell.


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a: