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Stanislas Hassler blazes the development of modern art in his gallery, packed with works of surprising shapes, colours and textures, and where exhibitions turn into media events. Gilbert Moreau is one of the artists whose sculptures are on display in the gallery. His wife, Josée, is intrigued by the stern Stanislas, who devotes his free time to photography in an apartment that highlights his sophisticated artistic tastes. But besides enlarged pictures of calligraphic samples, Stanislas is amassing a collection of photographs that reveal a disturbed character. So why would Josée endanger her mature relationship with Gilbert for the morbid observation of Stanislas's hidden personality? Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
In France they sell this movie in a DVD-collection called The Unclassifyables. Not without reason, as it is indeed very difficult to say what this movie is exactly about. In my opinion it is an early critical comment on post modernism and deconstructivism terms coined by French philosophers that became public property only years if not decades after this movie was made. The director sees what the world is coming to - and he does not like it. In this aspect La Prisonniere reminded me very much of Jacques Tati's movies Mon Oncle and Playtime.
Clouzot also seems to have been influenced here by Michelangelo Antonioni's movies Il Deserto Rosso and Blow-Up. Alienation and disorientation are rampant in all major characters. Apparently it is Clouzot's first movie in color - and it is one of the most impressive color movies I have seen ever. This director was always great with surfaces and textures. Here he adds undisturbed expanses of bright primary or secondary colors to his vocabulary. They are prominent in the greatest scenes, a playful chase on a beach (someone pours a bucket of red paint or blood into the water) and a climactic final scene on a rooftop in the center of Paris. In the house opposite the roof, a gigantic, heavy turn-of-the-century stone structure, all the exterior textile blinds are drawn so that it is sprinkled with tiny crimson squares. In a strange way color whenever it appears as a statement seems to mean artificiality in a negative sense, and the prime affliction of the main female character seems to be a kind of a color sickness. She goes through an interesting choice of different dresses.
I think La Prisonnière is a great artistic statement about the end of true artistic achievement. It takes the viewer to a fantasy world in which dreams and desires are bound turn into unbearable nightmares. The quick editing and ultra short insertions had other reviewers describe this movie as psychedelic". I doubt that a psychedelic experience was what the director intended. I think he rather wanted to warn against the exaggerated input of images post modern society is subjected to. The fantastic, terrifically edited train ride of the main couple at the beginning of the movie seems to indicate as much.
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