A liberated small-town girl and the family's black sheep moves to Paris with her sister, only to find herself standing trial for the shocking murder of her young lover. Was his killing premeditated or was this a crime of passion?
Dominique Marceau is on trial for the murder of Gilbert Tellier. The counsels duel relentlessly, elaborating explanations for why the pretty, idle and fickle girl killed the talented and ambitious conductor freshly graduated from the conservatory. Was it passion, vengeance, desperation, an accident? The acquaintances of Gilbert testify, as well as Dominique's former lovers, and her sister, Annie, the studious violin player engaged to Gilbert. The evidence they give progressively paints a more finely-shaded picture of the personalities of Dominique and Gilbert, and of their relationship, than the eloquent and convincing justifications of the counsels.Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
Italian censorship visa # 64267 delivered on 20-4-1974. See more »
The Prosecuting Attorney:
You spent weeks seducing him, didn't you? Weeks!
Objection! What length of time should she have spent? Is there any legal limit on how long a seduction ought to take?
See more »
It appears that the outstanding director Henri-George Clouzot was unable to make movies short of being masterpieces. "La Verite" may be defined as the "European Rashomon", and, well aware that my opinion will be considered a sacrilege, I venture to say that Clouzot's film is even better than Kurosawa's celebrated masterpiece. In fact, the essence of both "Rashomon" and "La Verite" lies in the quest of the truth of a story, reconstructed through a sequence of flash-backs.
"La Verite" narrates the trial of the breathtakingly-beautiful-sexy lost girl Dominique (Brigitte Bardot), for the murder of her former boy-friend Gilbert (Samy Frey). Everybody (Dominique herself, her former friends and various lovers, her enemies, notably her own sister, as well as lawyers and prosecutors) states his own version of the facts, but what is the actual truth? To simplify the question: is Dominique just a ruthless killer, or was she a weak, enamored girl, victim of Gilbert's selfishness and bullying? As always in Clouzot's movies, "La Verite" is extremely intense, packed with a profound and uncompromising psychological study. The almost obsessive pace of events gives no break to both the characters and the audience. The script is first-rate, with plenty of cynical sense of humor, in spite of the dramatic facts told.
Brigitte Bardot was a great actress, endowed with an outstanding talent. A careful viewer could easily get it even from BB's performances in minor movies, like, say "Mademoiselle Pigalle". Here, under the sound direction of a genius like Clouzot, she is just sensational in a highly dramatic role. Of course, also the acting by the remainder of the cast is excellent, especially, needless to say, by the legends Charles Vanel and Paul Meurisse, as the two lawyers.
Possibly, the main credit of this fantastic movie lies in a gelid, sarcastic, misanthropic representation of human society. Arguably, this is the trade-mark of Clouzot's style, together with suspense, which here is present but not exasperated like in his other works. The world of the adults is wholly despicable, permeated as they are with hypocrisy, with prejudice and fear, especially in sexual matters, and with sickening cynicism, as masterly represented by the lawyer Paul Meurisse.
However, the youngsters are no better than the adults. They are just fatuous, selfish, conceited loafers, only able to utter pseudo-intellectual chats. As a matter of fact, when Dominique founds herself in dire straits, none of her young friends moves a finger to help her. And Dominique often appears even worse than the others. From some point of view, she might be considered a totally negative character.
So, what's the point of Clouzot? I think that's not an issue. He just shows what he sees; that's the style and the aim of one of the greatest artists in the history of cinema.
"La Verite" is a total masterpiece. It is impossible to be disappointed. Highly recommended.
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