In Europe today, as chance, deceits and desires run their course, the army conscript meets the nurse, the nurse gets back together with the comedian, the comedian meets the married woman, the married woman gets back together with the VIP, the VIP meets the mad dog, the mad dog gets back together with his old friend Loulou and Loulou, naturally, meets Jack the Ripper.
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TThe ‘fin-de-siècle’ genre exists in every art form, but this is the first end-of-the-century in the lifetime of the movies. Last time around, the art was in its infancy. I thought to myself, let’s tackle it Viennese-style, with a dark kind of lightness. Hence the Schnitzleresque structure. One story leads to another, and this progression takes us on a kind of round of inspection. I think our society has a very dark relationship to pleasure, but you always get that at the end of a century. You realize that flesh is sad and you’ve read all the books. At the end of the 20th century, pleasure is an advertising word. They always show you the satisfaction you’ll get, but never the dangers that come with it. Candy gives pleasure but they never say it makes kids fat. Everybody — in cities, at least — is out for instant gratification. Everybody wants the buzz and nobody thinks about the consequences. It’s like a mass hysteria. (Nicolas Boukhrief in Le Figaro, August 5, 1998)