Review of the movie PERFUME, Story of a Murderer.
Last night I saw the movie Perfume, Story of a Murderer, on someone’s recommendation. The essential oil and distilling subject matter and scenes really excited me and I think if that’s your thing, you will too be interested.
I had to get past the first 15 minutes but then was very interested.
It started as the life of an unwanted mute orphan with a strange talent of smell. The smells of everything overwhelmed him. He could smell through things, like the maggots inside road kill, and smell metals and rocks. He could sense things inside ponds and what people were doing in his neighborhood.
He wanted to capture the scent of a girl whose smells haunted him whom he lost. As the girl died, he lost her smell and became obsessed with capturing it. The story went on. He suffered a terrible childhood and lived when he should have died, in order to accomplish this.
He went to work for a perfume maker who was trying hard to find the secret ingredient in his rival’s perfume. This boy came along and made the whole perfume, without even knowing the names of the essential oils. He wanted to work, in exchange for knowing how to capture the essence of “anything”. This talent astounded the perfume maker who was spurned by greed. He promised to show him how.
The boy not only made the rivals perfume exact, but also made it better. The perfumer sold it and it became a success in 17th century Paris. The boy with the nose, also made him the best perfumes and the biggest success among the lady customers.
The perfume guy, in exchange, began to teach him distillation.
His teacher also taught him how to use an ancient ALEMBIC, which is the name for a vintage distiller. They showed the process of 10,000 rose buds into one ounce of oil. They went through every step of essential oil distillation. The whole story of distillation from the lavender flower fields, to the drop that came out of the alembic.
The perfumer taught him the art of making a perfume. Taught him the first impression, second and the trail was important. Also told him the story of a perfume found in an Egyptian tomb, that when opened, made the entire world feel in love, for a second. This is what the boy wound up making at the end.
The boy experimented, throwing everything into this giant alembic only to find it didn’t capture the essence of all things. Things like horseshoes, cats, metals, came out with hydrosol and oil that smelled like nothing. He felt lied to.
He became sick and wanted to die, until the perfumer told him there was another way to capture smell, but he would have to go to Grasse, a small town, to learn it. It was called the art of Enfleurage.
Enfleurage was a process where you take purified animal fat, and soak your flowers in them until the flower slowly died. Then you scrape the fat off that and distilled it in a glass distiller over a flame and capture the oil that way.
He got a job at a place learning how to do that. This whole process was shown step by step. This is fascinating for those who like history.
In his spare time, he tried distilling a dead flower harvester girl; he killed, and then placed her body in a giant glass distiller after his bosses are asleep. This was amusing as how he tried to hide this from a nosy girl.
This didn’t work, his experiment failed. So he tried killing a beautiful virgin, shaving her, and wrapping her dead body up in animal fat and bandages, then waiting and scraping the fat off and distilling that. He places the oil on his hand, and the girl’s dog, runs up to him, licking his hand and going nuts. He was successful. Also whoever smells this oil on him becomes a little kinder and enchanted with him.
Yes it gets morbid and dark. He begins murdering beautiful young women in order to distill the scents from their bodies. He becomes obsessed with beauty and making that Egyptian perfume he heard the story of.
See what happens after he makes the world’s best perfume. The city is in chaos over all the murdered girls. Yet he makes the world’s best perfume. One that brings euphoria and it does make everyone think he is an angel. Even his executioner got on his knees and claimed this boy is innocent. Everyone present for his execution fills with love and all have an orgy. Even the bishop gets taken.
This movie raises interesting questions. I don’t agree with killing human beings, but you could say killing a flower is the same, if you wanted to joke around. So are you capturing the soul of a flower when you distill it? The same way he captured the essence of true beauty?
Also, what he is doing may be capturing pheromones, through Enfleurage and distillation, which I think is only presently done with animals, not beautiful human girls. It is an interesting experiment, but does it really work? Can you really distill human odor? Can you distill human beauty?
This movie is really dark, it’s about a serial killer, let’s face it. Not my thing. But if you are into distilling essential oils, this movie is for you. Yes, you can distill the essence of anything, pretty much. I have read some ancient crazy distilling recipes but nothing as shocking as this movie!