Sigh, this is my third draft. And I still don’t know what to say of the film.
Essentially, it is the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a boy gifted with extraordinary sense of smell, his quest to create the greatest perfume, and his downfall. It is a crime movie set on the beautiful town of Grasse and the wonderful world of perfume.
The film’s brilliant cinematography presents us two sides of France, very wonderfully: the dirty, grimey, and dull Paris, and the vibrant, fresh, green Grasse. In Paris, you could almost smell the slimey fish, the decaying garbage, dead vermin, the ash and soot from the chimneys, and the perfume and talcum of the bourgeoisie. In Grasse, you could almost smell the citrus blossoms, the lavender fields, the dirt, the hay, the cold rocks, and the trees.
The film also shows the perfume making process, from scent extraction, to composition. This is actually my favorite part. I envy a lab full of essential oils and rare extraits. Hey, I would settle for the composition tray ( a tray with 12-13 vials, grouped by fours)!
More importantly, it shows the power of scent. It can empower the wearer, make him/her more visible, more desired, more loved. It can enchant a stranger or an enemy. It can change perceptions. I can bring a whole town in a frenzied orgy!
But the film is more than those, it is about the inner struggles of Jean-Baptiste. It is about his desire to be recognized, that he exist, that he is a person, a human, that he is alive. It is his desire to be desired, and wanted, and loved.
Well, he got what he wanted. And I think it ended happy for him.
Perfume: the Story of a Murderer is a wonderful film, even if you’re not a fan or crime movies, or fragrances.
Thanks to my friend Ava for giving me a copy. Merci.