Three young women at a hair salon all like the son of the clothing store proprietors across the mall. Although Robby is selfish and shallow, he's appealing to Lili, the salon's manager, ... See full summary »
The characters engage in a séance at a mansion while a storm rages outside. During their stay, the film uses an extensive flashback structure to reveal the various criminal acts that each have perpetrated.
I took copious notes when finally getting a chance to see this nearly 40 year-old foreign film, but I'll try to keep my review brief: you need to watch this one to capture its flavor. Typical of the experimental movies of the '60s and '70s, it's a take it or leave it, abstract exercise.
My favorite French heartthrob Sami Frey is well-cast as a cruise ship tour guide, his long hair flashing in the wind romantically when called for. Though top-billed, lustrous Delphine Seyrig is more of a guest star, as the interpreter aboard ship whom we want Sami to make it with, but in these abstract (dare I say Marienbad genre?) films they merely schmooze.
Film is effectively shot in black & white, with many shots and scenes later on presented in a variety of tints, the format of Silent Cinema. There are brief outbursts of color, but the b&w plus monochrome tints dominates.
Main story is introduced about three reels into the film, with Marie-France Pisier cast against type as a revolutionary, later imprisoned after a bombing goes awry. Sacha Pitoeff steals the movie as her jailer, a dour but ultimately sympathetic personage with tons of back story and a screen presence that puts his three certified Superstar co-stars to shame. The trendy casting of Delphine, Sami and M-F, all very hot back then, is typical of these Euro experiments (see: Alain Robbe-Grillet, master of the form).
It takes forever for the plot strands, flashbacks and coincidences to coalesce, but filmmaker Stanislav Stanojevic delivers a very satisfying Chris Nolan-style tying up scene built around a stage show that Sami attends, featuring a chanteuse and her violent partner. It's worth waiting for. The ongoing film buff discussion of art vs. commerce is relevant here: like so many experimental directors Stanojevic never got a viable career going.
Given its genre, film also includes sexploitation elements, notably a gratuitous but "goods delivered" scene in color of full frontal nudity involving five beautiful prostitutes that Pitoeff visited at a brothel back when he was a young soldier. I doubt if this film was ever shown in America, but it's worth a look, especially if you're a Frey and Seyrig completist like me.
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