Daguerrotype A Venture into Madness, Love, and Devotion
Daguerrotype Film Details
Original Title: Le secret de la Chambre Noire
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kiyoshi Kurosawa (screenplay)
Catherine Paillé (adaptation)
Release Date: Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
Release Format: VOD
MPAA Rating: N/A
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Running Time: 2h 11min
When an assistant to a daguerreotypy photographer falls in love with the latter’s daughter the relationship mirrors the art form as love and pain combine.
First, Daguerrotype is not a typical supernatural haunted house tale. Kurosawa aims to present a romanticised vibe nestled with Horror undertones, not Horror overtones. This film best compares with Guillermo del Toro‘s 2015 ‘s 2015 release. If you haven’t seen the film, I referred to here’s an outline. Daguerrotype invests most of its narrative on its characters and their relationship with one another. Just as in Del Toro’s film Kurosawa’s latest film is best described as a psychological drama.
Daguerrotype develops at a slow pace and the viewer must remain locked to the actions and dialogue to understand how the story progresses. Yes, this is one of those films that make little sense you happen to turn away. I have to admit the slow pacing of Daguerrotype was frustrating to endure. Yet, once the final scene delivers, it made the two-hour eleven-minute presentation worthwhile.
My advice is to address Daguerrotype with peak attention. The story structure is unparalleled for its casual style to convey supernatural aspects. When these scenes come into the frame, the viewer will doubt between a haunting or a character’s delusion. In Daguerrotype ghosts that plague the characters are internal conflicts such as guilt, selfishness, and desire.
Kurosawa’s craft of the storytelling resonates with imagination. This film may not appeal to those seeking for a traditional supernatural fright fest. Daguerrotype targets audiences that appreciate a slow-paced well established psychological film. The performances were articulate, and each actor made the fictitious roles come alive. As the narrative progressed I couldn’t help but feel compassion for each tragic backstory. Dreams, both objectives and mutilated versions thereof are stressed as part of each character’s personality.
The chemistry between Tahar Rahim and Constance Rousseau was the centerpiece of the film. Their relationship is what audiences will identify most fascinating. Is Daguerrotype a love story? That is one interpretation while viewing the developments unfold between Rahim and Rousseau. Rahim portrays a young Parisian named Jean. While assisting a famed photographer Stéphane portrayed by Olivier Gourmet he finds himself attracted to Stéphane’s daughter, Marie portrayed by Constance Rousseau.
While the scare factor, special and practical effects were missing from Kurosawa’s visual narrative was the key influencer. I enjoyed how Kurosawa positioned the performers using the rule of thirds formula. For example, in one scene Rousseau’s character is on the edge of the shot, thus, providing a view of the billowing curtain in the background. These subtleties give hints to paranormal circumstances, yet things are not what they appear to be.
Daguerrotype takes a melancholy and philosophical view on passion and devotion. These may not be conventional subjects to a supernatural horror film but this film is anything but typical. The pace of the story moves at a snail’s pace yet it is not exhausting. I enjoyed Daguerrotype for everything it offers. A highlight will have to be the camera work with acting and narrative coming in as the second engaging aspects to this film.