The Games of Countess Dolingen (Les jeux de la Comtesse Dolingen de Gratz)
Director: Catherine Binet, 1981.
France, 106 minutes.
French with English subtitles.
A poetic and winding tale following multiple interwoven narratives, Binet's Countess Dolingen is based loosely upon both Braham Stoker's Dracula and Urnica Zurn's Dark Spring, creating a dark illustration of sexual desire, fantasy, fascination and infatuation.
Countess Dolingen plays heavily with story within a story, often to the point of leaving the viewer with uncertainty as to which plot is real or their relation to one another. Who is the young girl infatuated with her father? Is she only a character in a diary given to Louise (the ever-lovely Carol Kane), a woman in a volatile relationship with the unseen man? What is Louise's relation to this domineering man? and what of the other brooding characters that appear from the film's dark corners? Pairing voiceovers of Zurn's text with a winding plot Binet's work casts a fleetingly binding spell.