American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"The Hunger" is an agonizingly bad vampire movie, circling around an exquisitely effective sex scene. Sorry, but that's the way it is, and your reporter has to be honest. The seduction scene involves Catherine Deneuve, as an age-old vampire, and Susan Sarandon, as her latest victim. There was a great deal of controversy while the movie was being made (all sorts of rumors about closed sets, etc.), but the scene as it now appears isn't raunchy or too explicit -- just sort of dreamily erotic.
I mention the scene so prominently because it's one of the few scenes that really work in "The Hunger," a movie that has been so ruthlessly overproduced that it's all flash and style and no story. Well, there's probably a story moping about somewhere within all the set decoration. It seems to involve Deneuve as a vampire of vaguely Egyptian origins, whose latest partner (David Bowie) is giving out on her after three or four centuries.
After an initial orgy of fancy camerawork, the movie settles down into the story of Bowie's final days. He has that disease, where you age suddenly. He needs a lot of blood to keep going. He appeals to a medical researcher (Sarandon) for help, but she brushes him off, and by the time she realizes he's serious, he looks like Methuselah. Then Sarandon visits the lavish town house where Deneuve and Bowie lived, and that's where a glass of sherry leads to the seduction scene.
Now I've got to be honest about this scene. Part of its interest lies in the fact that Catherine Deneuve herself and Susan Sarandon herself are acting in the scene. That gives it a level of reality that would be lacking in a porno film, even a much more explicit one. Because we know that famous actresses don't usually agree to appear in scenes such as this, we're aware at the chance they're, taking -- and the documentary reality of the scene gives it an effectiveness all its own.