When the car of Georges, a Parisian architect, breaks down on the motorway, he is helped by Serge, a mechanic and garage owner, who lives in a remote Jura hamlet. The two men, although they... See full summary »
Yves Le Moign
Sensational, but its hardness takes it beyond salaciousness.
Cinema and television offer a steady flow of works (including the evening news) that revel in violence while purporting to denounce it. Cayatte's / Girardot's heroine is indeed a spectacle of horrific suffering. But this movie assaults the viewer's moral comfort as well by means of the gawkers and paparazzi that camp out at the heroine's home and dog her steps to the very bitter end. Shaky ethical ground, perhaps, and it might even be moralistic one-upmanship to denounce the gawkers while giving us box seats for the spectacle of suffering they are clamoring to see. However, I think the film cannot simply be put down to a facile manipulation of bad conscience. The systematic refusal of any ethical ground from which to judge the characters or the film itself is at least an aesthetic achievement because the viewer is invited to consider his or her own enjoyment of the truly gripping performances. (Girardot out-Crawfords Crawford; Hardy Krüger's unflinching police inspector is the most chilling character on screen.)
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