In Lyon, where many are unemployed, Marie is a prostitute who loves her work: she's thoughtful and exuberant toward clients old and young, slim or flabby. One night, a homeless man sleeps ... See full summary »
Solange is depressed: she's stopped smiling, she eats little, she says less. She has fainting fits. Her husband Raoul seeks to save her by enlisting Stephane, a stranger, to be her lover. ... See full summary »
A bisexual petty criminal named Bob encounters a married couple arguing in a bar. Bob breaks up the fight and proceeds to seduce first the wife and then the husband. Then Bob teaches the ... See full summary »
A desperate alcoholic reaches a turning-point in his life when he meets a strange woman in a railway carriage: they make love, but then she leaves. Chasing after the girl, he clings to her as if she were his final chance.
Black comedy about solitude and the dehumanization of the modern world, through the adventures of three men. First introduced is Alphonse Tram, an unemployed young man. His only neighbour ... See full summary »
A car dealer, well-to-do and with a beautiful wife, finds himself attracted to his rather plain new temporary secretary. Despite her own commitments she feels the same and the two soon ... See full summary »
Camille, a naive schoolgirl meets an intiguing influence in Joelle, a slightly older and much more experienced spirit. Camille follows her new friend through the discovery of sex and the ... See full summary »
"Si j'étais un espion" (1967) or "If I Were a Spy" is a fine film noir in black and white that has probably flown beneath the noir radar. It deserves more attention. It's a very good picture, skillfully directed by Bernard Blier's son, Bertrand Blier. The film looks thoroughly noir by its use of closeups, cramped spaces, and darkness; but it's not the look of classic Hollywood noirs or a John Alton technique. The lighting is more muted and presents fewer high contrasts, yet it is highly effective.
The elder Blier plays a doctor who comes under suspicion by a shadowy government secret service organization because of his associations with a spy who has apparently become neurotic and a security risk. Most of the film is taken up with the virtual invasion of his life and that of his 25-year old daughter (Patricia Scott) by an agent played by Bruno Cremer. So here we have two major stars in French cinema, Blier and Cremer, pitted against one another in a psychological duel in which Cremer has the upper hand, taking over Blier's quarters and rummaging through his papers, photos, letters and files. The intrusive domestic power of the State's spies is spotlighted, with Scott being used as a means to force Blier to do their bidding and set a trap for the absent agent.
The story is narrowly-focused; the interior staging complements this by making us feel a closed-in aspect. In close-ups, Blier's powerlessness comes across, as does his fear. The threatened ruthlessness of the organization is pervasive. Cremer takes over, broaching Blier's privacy. The personal counts for nothing in their schemes and objectives. Their surveillance is total. But there is paranoia among the spies too. They want to keep control over any rogue and to control tightly the people they are using to attempt to capture him. Cremer wants Blier to be a silent puppet, and he fears that Blier's daughter will be curious and suspicious about her father's behavior and Cremer's presence. Women, he fears, ask many questions and cannot be as easily controlled.
This is a carefully-written script brought to life with skill. It has that noir feeling of uneasiness in which one's life can be turned upside down by external forces mobilized by incidents that one has ignored or thought harmless and natural.
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