Pierre Rissient have championed this film if someone else directed it? The celebrated film critic, publicist, distributor,
and exhibitor was already the special guest at this year’s San Francisco
International Film Festival and the upcoming 2012 New York Film Festival will
pay tribute to his curatorial eye with a special sidebar of films he programmed
at the Cinema Mac Mahon. On rare occasions,
the “Man of Cinema” has stepped behind the camera, with mixed (if politely
received) results. At least one such
foray can be reevaluated in light of his year of festival fêtes, since Rissient’s
One Night Stand (a.k.a. Alibis) was relatively recently released
on DVD by Pathfinder Entertainment.
Rand is not a happy person. After his
ex-wife Sonya attempts suicide, he comes to Hong Kong out of a vague sense of
obligation, but it is unclear what he expects to accomplish. Although a translator by trade, French is Rand’s
language not Chinese, so he will be dependent of members of the comatose Sonya’s circle during
his visit. This will include the career
driven Sandy Lun, who thinks very little of him and Anya, who always carried a
torch for the American during her time in the States. The one thing not specifically on the agenda
is getting to know his daughter Amanda, which is probably just as well for her.
appears to have translated a bit too much Baudelaire. He has an annoying habit of mixing lyric
poetry quotations with highly vulgar comments.
The exoticism of HK is not lost on him, but he kicks off his visit by
sexually humiliating a middle-aged French woman also staying in his hotel. (One has to wonder just what French actress might
have inspired this rather nasty scene.)
In fact, Rissient, or his co-writers Kenneth White and Alfred Eibel,
exhibit an unhealthy fixation on non-traditional intercourse in several scenes.
parallels with Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris (from five years earlier) can be seen throughout Stand. Shrewdly though, Rissient
never lets the Hong Kong backdrop go to waste in the less claustrophobic later
film. He also uses more compelling foils
for Rand than the problematically submissive Maria Schneider opposite
Brando. None other than Betty Ting Pei,
in whose apartment Bruce Lee breathed his last terrestrial breath, appears as
Anya, a sexually confident and altogether modern woman. However, Rand more or less meets his match in
Ms. Lun, sensitively portrayed by Mei Fang.
In contrast, the accomplished Marie Däems (who co-starred with Yul Brynner
in The Journey) really gets the shaft
as the poorly treated “Collette the Countessa.”
the lead, Richard Jordan might be no Brando as Rand, but that is not all
bad. While his character is rather
erratic, Jordan holds onto his center (self-loathing) and guts it out. Rounding out the men, Kenneth Tsang (billed
as Tsang Kong) brings a welcome dose of roguish verve to the film as Arthur, Rand’s
newfound friend with dubious ethics but plenty of connections.
is a rather odd film. It feels like
an art-cinema auteur remade a naughty Emmanuelle
movie with all the sex scenes minimized, but with cruder dialogue. While there are some memorable performances
from the Hong Kong cast, it suggests the one-time assistant director on Breathless found his proper role in
cinema outside the director’s chair. Still, just the combination of Rissient
and Shaw Brothers alumnus Betty Ting Pei makes One Night Stand forever noteworthy. For the curious, it is now available at all
online retailers from Pathfinder Entertainment.
Labels: Betty Ting Pei, DVD, Pierre Rissient