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Mascara (1987)

A respected police commissioner has a reputation as a fervent opera lover, but by night he also enjoys plunging into the transvestite scene. In addition, he harbors a longing for his very ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Gaby Hart
...
Bert Sanders
...
Chris Brine
Jappe Claes ...
Colonel March
...
David Hyde
Harry Cleven ...
PC
Serge-Henri Valcke ...
Harry Wellman
Romy Haag ...
Lana
...
Pepper
...
Minister Weinberger
Norma Christine Deumner ...
Salome
Pascale Jean-Louis ...
Divine
...
Euridice
Mark Verstraete ...
Police Officer
Hugo Van Den Berghe ...
Policeman
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Storyline

A respected police commissioner has a reputation as a fervent opera lover, but by night he also enjoys plunging into the transvestite scene. In addition, he harbors a longing for his very own sister. When he learns that his wife has been murdered, he tries to implicate the set-designer who has designs on his sister. Written by Hannelore Goossens

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Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

7 May 1987 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Make-up for Murder  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Finnish censorship visa # I-01840 (video) delivered on 15-9-1989. See more »

Soundtracks

Salome
Written by Richard Strauss
Performed by Birgit Nilsson with Wiener Philharmoniker (as The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra)
Conducted by Georg Solti
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User Reviews

Orpheus in S&M World!
7 October 2003 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland) – See all my reviews

An incestuous brother-sister duo! A psychotic killer who stalks transsexuals! An underground S&M club called Mister Butterfly! An opera gown with a fluorescent red heart! In its irresistible mix of outre artiness and commercial sleaze, Mascara plays as if Werner Schroeter had set out to direct an erotic thriller in the style of Joe Eszterhas.

Unthinkable in any normal universe, but Mascara is most defiantly NOT a normal film. A box-office catastrophe on its release, and still barely known outside a small clique of twisted souls, this is a cult movie waiting to happen. As deliciously warped as anything by Almodovar or John Waters, it's all the more campily compelling for being played with a straight face.

In a queer inversion of the Orpheus myth, it is Woman (a smoulderingly beautiful Charlotte Rampling) who inhabits a sunlit above-ground world of music, art and 'healthy' sexuality. (All three summed up by her affair with a hunky opera designer, Derek de Lint.) It is Man (Michael Sarrazin as her deranged sibling) who wallows in a subterranean sexual Hell of his own making.

Brief but surprisingly graphic shots treat us to leather bondage gear, chain-mail masks and the scariest Tina Turner drag act you are ever likely to see. The subtle androgyny of Rampling's persona becomes an eerie reflection of the real-life transsexuals (Berlin cabaret legend Romy Haag and Italian beauty Ewa Robins) who round out the film's cast.

And to make it that wee bit more perverse, the lurid goings-on are set to some serenely lyrical opera excerpts by Gluck, Bellini and Strauss. You'll either adore or loathe Mascara - there's no middle ground - but guaranteed you've never seen anything quite like it.


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