Crazy Love (1987) from Tuna

Crazy Love (1987) is a Flemish film based in part on a short story by Charles Bukowski called The Copulating Mermaid of Venice Beach. Young Belgian film maker Dominique Deruddere wanted very much to make a short based on this story, but was advised that the Flemish film board was too conservative to approve funds for a story involving necrophilia. He managed to get the grant with a deception. He submitted a script based on another Bukowski story, then shot the short film he really wanted, and hoped it would be approved after the fact. Luckily for him, it was.

Then he had the bright idea that it was good enough to be part of a feature length film, but he couldn't get there by simply expanding the existing story, so he decided to film two more crucial nights in the hero's life, one at the cusp of adolescence, and the second at High School graduation. As the film opens, 12 year old Harry Voss is watching a romantic tale in the cinema, and is madly in love with the female lead, Florence Béliard, so much so that he steals the publicity still on his way out of the theater. Once home, he asks his mother about the romantic beginnings of her marriage to his father, and forms a lifetime obsession with romantic love. The next day, his best friend begins educating him to the realities of physical love, including an attempt to score his first kiss and feel on a carnival ride, the attempted seduction of the drunken mother of a school mate (Carmela Locantore), and finally masturbation.

In Act Two, Voss is about to graduate from High School, and has serious acne. It is so bad that he is the laughingstock of his school, and seldom leaves his apartment. He tries to get lucky at the graduation dance, but is rejected, and ends up jailed for breaking into a boxcar and stealing a bunch of scotch.

Although the first two acts seem like they could have been written by Bukowski, they were more based on Deruddere's youth. Act Three is the part of the film actually based on Bukowski's story

In Act Three, Voss is thirtyish, and a drunken bum. He runs into his old boyhood friend in a bar and, after stealing a bottle of scotch, the two of them head to his friend's place. Along the way, they see a body bag being loaded into a hearse, and decide to steal the body for a lark. When they open the bag at home, they discover that the still warm corpse is Florence Béliard, the actress who had transfixed Voss when he was 12. Voss, much to his friend's disgust, has sex with the body. The film ends when Voss decides to join this perfect woman for eternity, and walks into the ocean with her in his arms. This was not the original ending from the short story, but Bukowski liked the change very much. 


  • We see breasts through fishnet lingerie from a female wrestler, who was either Pierrette Laffineusse or Brigitte Simon
  • Carmela Locantore shows nipples in lingerie
  • Béliard shows breasts as the corpse.

You must be asking yourself how I could be so interested in a film about necrophilia. While the film does contain this event, you have to see it in context to understand that this is a very moving film about romance vs. sex, so the act itself is important to the story, and it is presented in a rather poetic fashion. 

DVD info from Amazon Canada

  • It is a wonderful release from Mondo Macabra, and includes an amazing number of special features for a film this old, including interviews with the director, Bukowski, and several others in the cast and crew.

Contemporary criticism was unkind but later, after Dominique Deruddere received an Oscar nomination for Everybody's Famous, a little historical revisionism took place, and the critics started calling Crazy Love "his beautiful first film." 

You know by now whether you want to see this.

The Critics Vote ...

  • It won a host of Belgian academy awards, which are called the Plateau awards, and was later named "best Flemish film in the quarter century from 1965-1990."

The People Vote ...

  • While the critics at the time were not especially kind, it did receive international distribution before fading into obscurity. It grossed $119,000 in the USA.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a very high C+. If you liked Bar Fly, also based on Bukowski, you will love this, as Dominique Deruddere has managed to take Bukowski to another level, adding more humanity and dignity to the story.

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