Palm de Brass

I wasted about 100 minutes of my sleeping time the other night to watch an execrable film called Irina Palm.  It starred Marianne Faithfull and I enjoy her singing, but her idea of acting is to be catatonic with slow, vague reactions.  The screen play was dire – the story of a grandmother living a respectable life in an English village who goes and works in a Soho sex shop to earn money so her dying grandson can be taken to Melbourne for life-saving treatment.   Under the name of Irina Palm she becomes a success at wanking blokes through a hole in the wall.  The tough foreign sex club owner falls for her, but her son discovers what she’s been up to, as do her posh village friends and there are a few highly stagy explosions – “Don‘t call me a whore“.  All the acting was dreadful, the dialogue unbelievably bad – “You look nice when you smile” – the characters of the posh ladies in the village and the gossips in the village shop sub-sub-Archers stereotypes and the sex jokes  laboured eg the condition called “penis elbow“ which assembly line wanking can bring on.   It was evidently meant to be a dark comedy, but it wasn’t dark, nor funny.  I thought this must be some odd B movie Faithfull had made by mistake but looking it up on Wikipedia I find it has won nominations for awards.

  • Nominated for the Golden Bear for Best Movie at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival
  • Miki Manojlovic is nominated for Best European Actor of 2007 by European Film Academy for his role in Irina Palm
  • Marianne Faithfull received a Best Actress nomination for her role in the European Film Awards, but Helen Mirren won in that category for The Queen.

I suppose it was the glum grey European look and off-beat sex that shout “art house movie”  that got it the Berlin nomination.  I was watching it in staggered astonishment that a film could be that bad and still get released.

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9 thoughts on “Palm de Brass

  1. Gaw
    November 30, 2010 at 08:05

    I suppose its ‘transgressive’ theme gets it some award brownie points. At least you weren’t in the theatre. Some of my longest wasted evenings have been spent in the theatre, unable to persuade my wife to leave or with friends who bought the tickets.

  2. Worm
    November 30, 2010 at 09:03

    Has Marianne Faithful ever turned in a good performance? Girl on a Motorcycle must surely stand as one of the worst bits of acting ever comitted to celluloid

    It’s true, isn’t it, that people in film and theatre always feel they have to make something ‘worthy’ to justify the endeavor. Especially, as Gaw says, in theatre- where everything has to have a ‘message’ spelled out clunkily

    But thanks for the heads up, I will make sure to avoid this movie like the plague!

    Toby Ash
    November 30, 2010 at 09:37

    I always think it’s healthy to sit through a dreadful film every now and again. It makes the good films seem all the better. If I ever get on Desert Island Discs I’ll include the Birdie Song for the same reason.

  4. Gaw
    November 30, 2010 at 10:04

    Sorry to go over old and personal ground, but, Toby, you’ve reminded me of Caro Diario, a staggeringly boring and inconsequential film that nevertheless had its supporters – including you. Now I understand.

    Toby Ash
    November 30, 2010 at 12:21

    You have a memory as long as a Tuareg elder Gaw. Oh Caro Diario. Not a great film, but the wonderful Italian scenery and a soundtrack by the excellent Algerian musician Khaled made it worth 90 minutes of my time. However, my public appreciation of it seemed to grow in direct proportion to the repetitive, endless opprobrium being heaped upon it by this angry Welsh banker sitting to my left. I mean if you just dislike a film that much don’t you just pop out for a pint rather than punishing everyone for the sin of kindly inviting you to join them for a film and a late dinner? To add insult to injury the poor Master of the Universe then had to endure cabbage soup and vegetarian momos at a Tibetan eatery, souring his mood even further. Oh the bitterness. The rancour. Unforgettable (obviously).

  6. Gaw
    November 30, 2010 at 12:29

    Don’t get me started on Tibetan food.

    November 30, 2010 at 16:56

    Thing is, this could have been an entertaining black comedy if the Marianne Faithfull character had been earning money eg, to have a flash holiday with her posh chums so as to keep up with them and then maybe got them into doing hand jobs as well. By making the object of earning money saving (sob, sob) the life of her grandchild, everything became off key. Calendar Girls has a similar story – middle-aged ladies do something unrespectable to earn money in a good cause – but has a light touch, and also has actresses who are likable and who can act.

    November 30, 2010 at 22:10

    Sounds like it was all a little too heavy – weighed down with Marianne Faithfull’s baggage perhaps?

    Gadjo Dilo
    December 1, 2010 at 06:50

    I suppose any film featuring wanking blokes off through a hole in the wall is a shoo-in for a prize at a Berlin film festival. (Melbourne? As in Australia?? That’s surely even more crass a conceit than Lars von Trier’s in Dancer in the Dark)

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