Kiss Napoleon Goodbye is essentially a film about relationships and the jealous, hateful and obsessive natures of them. Hedda (Lydia Lunch) and her husband Neal live in an isolated castle in the countryside that was formerly the home of Napoleon. They live a pretty relaxed life and are expecting their first child, and then one day Hedda’s ex-lover Jackson (Henry Rollins) comes along and everything starts to go wrong.
The film only runs for half an hour so that’s all you really need to know. The film is pretty slow, nothing that interesting or exciting happens. I half expected it to turn into a porno at any minute, and frankly I think it would have been a better film if it had. A plus for all you girls is that you do get to see Henry’s naked ass, but for me the delight was seeing him doing some weird Tai Chi/Capoeira exercises. Although it was Henry’s first acting role, he’s like a stupider version of Joe Dallesandro. If I didn’t own a bunch of Hank’s talking DVDs I would think he was like Jackson, a bit brain-dead, but he’s super intelligent and interesting, and is nothing like that character.
There isn’t really much to write about this film, it’s not even visually interesting, except for one out of place scene of a man drilling a hole in his head, and a few shots of Lunch with bunny rabbits, oh, and some random pissing scene?! These made it a bit more interesting to watch. I am sure both of these scenes are meant to symbolise something but I have no definite answer, the film was far too short and the character development was very minimal so make of it what you will. Also, I guess the house in some way plays a part in what happens, as there’s flashbacks to its past and these scenes in some ways echo the present.
In terms of the DVD itself, the sound is pretty awful, you can barely hear what the characters are saying which was a bit annoying at times. My main qualm is that how the hell did Mike Kuchar work on this and there’s not a trace of the Kuchar charm here?
The two extras that accompany this set It’s a Man’s World and Paradoxia & a Predator’s Diary are the real highlights of this release. It’s a Man’s World is a five minute spoken word excerpt and is the usual anti-patriarchy, raging-Lunch-psychobabble that you have heard before. Paradoxia & a Predator’s Diary runs for 50 minutes and includes Lunch’s dialogues about her messed up relationship and sexcapades with Fingered co-star Marty Nation. There’s also spoken word performances, live concert footage and in-depth interviews with Lunch. Although I admire Lunch’s fuck you attitude and sarcastic deliverances, she does have a tendency to overuse adjectives and alliteration to the point where you have to wonder if she really thinks this or she just likes the way it sounds. When you strip away the anger, the ego, she has points, but this incessant need to come off as a hard ass and inspire women to get up and scream totally dumbs down anything prolific she had to say in the first place. Half the time I am right there with her, but then she uses her feminine mystique to ‘drive it home’ and you wonder why she stoops to that level, even if it is meant to be in jest.
I had never heard of Kiss Napoleon Goodbye before I received this to review, so kudos to Cult Epics for digging this one up. This is a must have for Lydia Lunch fans as the extras alone make it well worth the purchase price.
- Lydia Lunch “It’s a Man’s World” 5 min
- Lydia Lunch “Paradoxia & A Predator’s Diary” 51 min