Film Title: Cardiologie Department De Mort
Director: Rémi Archambeau
Release Date: 1981
Runtime:1 hr, 37 min
This is the only known film by the flamboyant director Rémi
Archambeau (1954-1981), a never-commercially-released and mostly
unknown masterpiece of the French horror genre. The real-life story of
Archambeau's tragically short life and grizzly death is enough to make
the blood boil, and although his life would make for a fascinating
discussion, this entry will focus on his film and the accompanying
soundtrack of his Cardiologie Department de Mort.
The film itself is like no other, shot with a precision and directorial
flair rarely seen, and it is no leap to suggest Archambeau was well
ahead of his time in terms of his approach to cinematography and
storytelling. If not for his untimely passing, we might be speaking of
Archambeau alongside the likes of Jodorowsky or Bunuel. Unfortunately,
only a single reel-to-reel tape of his only film exists, archived in a
movie theater in Archambeau's birthplace, Saint-Brieuc, a commune lying
on the shores of Brittany in France. The film is ceremoniously unearthed
once every decade, on October 31st, to shock and amuse the townspeople
of the Saint-Brieuc commune.
Based on a true story, Cardiologie Department de Mort tells the story of a real-life heart surgeon from the city of Rennes, Dr. Gerard Gorin and his assistant and lover, Angélique Lefevre.
The two manufactured a killing chamber within the confines of the
cardiology department of Renne's now demolished Hospital de la Croix
Rouge, where hidden from the watchful eye of the hospital's related
departments, dozens of unassuming patients were tortured and mutilated
in the most ghastly fashion between 1976-1980. Out of respect for the
dead, and to honor the sanctity of the lone copy of this film, this
review will not go into the details of the film itself.
But much can be said of the soundtrack, which is one of the greatest
ever compiled. Hand-picked from the vast French, Italian and English
music libraries by Archambeau himself, the result is a cacophonic wall
of sound: actual and musical heartbeats, soundscapes of hospital
operating machines and instruments of torture, and brilliantly
interpreted electro-instrumentation that invites the listener into the
bloody chambers of Dr. Gorin's cardiology department. It allows one, if
one dares, to visualize the slow and deliberate tortures of Dr. Gorin's
terror chamber. The soundtrack is intended to bring discomfort to the
listener, and at this it vastly succeeds; but there is also an
underlying melodic melancholy that infuses a unique beauty into an
otherwise grim subject. Rhythmic heartbeats, real and interpreted, morph
in and out of musical machinery, guiding the listener through a
horrifyingly alluring tapestry of electronic beats and sound.
Download this rare treat of a soundtrack mix for a limited time only...