This is Dominique Delouche's second effort ,after critically-acclaimed shorts and a first movie,"24 Heures De La Vie D'Une Femme ",from Zweig ,starring Danielle Darrieux .
When it was released ,circa 1971,it went thoroughly unnoticed.Too ahead of its time for its own good,it probably winded up into the gay underground distribution ,which is a complete misunderstanding,for it is NOT a porno movie but a psychological drama and it should have been shown at least in the art house cinema theaters.To think that the female lead,Emmanuelle Riva ,was an extremely ambitious artist ,whose career encompasses such works as "Hiroshima Mon Amour " ,"Leon Morin Pretre" ,"Thérèse Desqueyroux" and her later days worldwide triumph "Amour" about Alzheimer's disease .The other actors remained virtually unknown ,with the exception of André Falcon ,cast as the superintendent ,who had supporting parts in "mainstream" cinema.In most of the books about cinema ,the movie is simply (and unfairly) ignored.
Shot in bleak black and white (which had become unusual in the early seventies),it tells a story of self -destruction.Those who might want to see it to get an eyeful won't get anything out of it. The only homo erotic scene shows the Young guy Rudy alias Jean ,acting like a sleepwalker ,is "protected" by the married man Etienne.Sleepwalking symbolizes Rudy 's uncertain sexuality ,as he fumbles through the dark house.
Etienne is married to Valentine and says "we are happy " ,but the viewer notices the empty cradle ,that they never have sex together -the only sex scene in the whole movie is a heterosexual one,and only Riva strips bare -,and that,although he is a very educated man ,a writer (about German culture),he realizes his desirable mansion means a routine life ,Willy nilly.There's a gap between his bourgeois life and that of his protégé,who belongs to a pack of delinquents whose leader is a strange black man .
Etienne wants to get Rudy out of his perverse milieu ;for him,it was love at first sight when he first saw the boy ,a hitchhiker on a rainy road.But the boy cannot relate to his privileged world ;devoid of culture ,he despises this bourgeois world which represents all that he hates and (in a totally non political way) wants to destroy.The boy is troubled ,Delouche shows him putting on his protector's coat (a nod to movies with homosexual undertones :Clément's "Plein Soleil" and Chabrol's "Les Biches" .When Rudy makes up his mind (actually his coming out),it will be too late ,and the final pictures show him driving through the night ,heading for nowhere.
These tragic last scenes are treated as a bizarre choreography,almost recalling "West side story" ,which makes sense ,for Delouche's former shorts dealt with modern dance ("Le Spectre De La Danse (1960) notably.
Like this? try these.....
"Les Amis" (Gérard Blain,same year)
"La Meilleure Façon De Marcher" (Claude Miller,1976)
"L'Homme Blessé" (Patrice chéreau,1983)
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