The Marquis de Villemaur reunite stranges visitors in his Castle, to meet a survivor of the 3rd Reich. There is an Italian fascist ; Heinrich, a German ; Matthias, a russian ; and Dromard, a blind French war hero, with a black monocle.
In the middle of the night, deputy Philippe Dubaye wakes up his old friend Xavier Maréchal with disturbing news: he has just killed Serrano, a racketeer with extant political connections. ... See full summary »
Six months before his retirement from the criminal police, inspector Joss finds his colleague Gouvion dead, in a poorly faked suicide attempt. Joss loses his temper, and investigates on his... See full summary »
Maurice Pialat's portrait of contemporary France mocks prosperity as a substitute for social and sexual revolution. Nelly abandons her bourgeois friends and a steady relationship for the ... See full summary »
M.Duval (Blier), bored and out walking, comes upon Catherine, a beauty sunbathing topless. He tries to kiss her and when she resists and screams, strangles her. He feels no great remorse or pangs of conscience, but when he finds himself on the jury at the trial of her main lover (she had several) does all he can to to get the wrongly-accused man acquitted. To say more would spoil your enjoyment. suffice to say the film is thoroughly gripping, and the ending terrific.
Pathe have been issuing DVDs of restored, relatively rare French films like this one. The prints are excellent and have English subtitles: I wish Gaumont would follow suit, as there are so many neglected works from the 50s and 60s by the likes of Cayatte and Hossein, brushed aside by the New Wavers like the abysmal Jean-Luc. "Juror" could have been made by the more prestigious Clouzot or Chabrol, as it shares their disgust at the prejudice and self- protection of the provincial petit bourgeoisie, Duval's wife being a prime example (no wonder he's so frustrated.)
I've seen three Lautner films restored by Pathe, and this is easily the best (probably his masterpiece, but I haven't seen all of his work.) It's a pity he mostly made silly romps with insufferably smug stars like Belmondo and Meurisse, where nothing's at stake. All that prevents me giving this film 10 is that after Duval met the prosecuting counsel in a shop pre-trial and said he believed the accused innocent, said counsel would surely have rejected Duval as a juror: that scene was a mistake.
As an outsider it was fascinating to see how the French legal system works. The juror basically conducted the defence (the defence counsel hardly said a word!) Duval constantly interrupted proceedings to ask questions. He grilled witnesses, called for one to be recalled, argued with the prosecutor and suggested a reconstruction at the crime scene. None of this would be possible in the adversarial system we have in the UK and Us: the French system, which seems focused on trying to find the truth, seems superior.
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