Special 30th : Exquisite Corpse

The Ninth Gate

1999
United States / Spain / France
2h13
Fiction
Col.
English with french subtitles

A film chosen by Alex Ross Perry

A rare book dealer, while seeking out the last two copies of a demon text, gets drawn into a conspiracy with supernatural overtones.

The Ninth Gate is a playful, mysterious film from a director known for them.
Unfairly maligned at the time of it's release due to being anticipated as Polanski's 'return to horror' and unable to compare to Rosemary's Baby, the film’s artificiality was a turn off for many.

However the final sequence, the long winding roads leading up to the house where evil may or may not manifest once and for all made a huge impression on me.
Not to mention the descent of the opening title sequence, a Polanski staple but for me, seeing as The Ninth Gate was the first 'new' Polanski film I experienced opening weekend in the theater, it struck me as entirely unique.

The duration, the endless momentum as the credits sped past, mirroring the approach to the sort of castle at the end.
I saw the image and immediately recalled the approach, immediately recalled the dark and ominous mystery that Johnny Depp pieces together, an antiquarian book dealer drawn into a web of evil and conspiracy.

Alex Ross Perry
Cast
Johnny Depp, Frank Langella, Lena Olin, Emmanuelle Seigner
Screenplay
Enrique Urbizu, John Brownjohn, Roman Polanski, d'après l'oeuvre originale d'Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Photography
Darius Khondji
Sound
Jean-Marie Blondel
Music
Wojciech Kilar
Art direction
Dean Tavoularis
Editing
Hervé de Luze
Production
RP Productions, Orly Films, TF1 Films Production, Bac Films, Canal +, Kino Vision, Origen Producciones Cinematográficas, Vía Digital

Films in the Retrospective