Pierre Lachenay is a well-known publisher and lecturer, married with Franca and father of Sabine, around 10. He meets an air hostess, Nicole. They start a love affair, which Pierre is hiding, but he cannot stand staying away from her.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Claude Roc, a young middle-class Frenchman meets in Paris Ann Brown, a young Englishwoman. They become friends and Ann invites him to spend holidays at... See full summary »
Some time after "Baisers Volés", Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and Christine Darbon (Claude Jade) are married and Antoine works dying flowers, and Christine is pregnant and gives ... See full summary »
In the town of Thiers, summer of 1976, teachers and parents give their children skills, love, and attention. A teacher has his first child, a single mother hopes to meet Mr. Right, another ... See full summary »
A French little town, at the end of the twenties. Julien Davenne is a journalist whose wife Julie died a decade ago. He gathered in the green room all Julie's objects. When a fire destroys ... See full summary »
Claude Massoulier is murdered while hunting at the same place than Julien Vercel, an estate agent that knew him and whose fingerprints are found on Massoulier's car. As the police discovers... See full summary »
After trying to commit suicide, the widow Julie Kohler (Jeanne Moreau) pretends to her mother that she will leave her town. Actually she stays, chases and assassinates the five men that accidentally killed her beloved husband in the stairs of the church immediately after their wedding ceremony.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This film is the inspiration for the Kate Bush song "The Wedding List" from her 1980 album Never For Ever. See more »
When Julie goes to Fergus's studio the second time to model, he has her wear a special bracelet by Calder. But seconds before, when she is in the bathroom changing, she is clearly already wearing the bracelet. See more »
Truffaut's gleeful homage to the cinema of Hitchcock and a subtle mockery of our own expectations of genre
The Bride Wore Black (1968) is noted as being director François Truffaut's gleeful homage/pastiche of the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock, with the usual characteristics of deception and retribution, cool cinematography and a lush score by none other than Bernard Hermann all being co-opted alongside some nicely subtle allusions to the broader aspects of the thriller and mystery genres. Whereas it would have been fairly easy for the filmmaker to produce a work that was a shot-for-shot recreation of something that Hitchcock might have done - like for example with De Palma or Van Sant - Truffaut takes the familiar style and iconography of Hitchcock's work - in particular from films like Strangers on a Train (1951), To Catch a Thief (1955) and most prominently Marnie (1964) - and fashions a film that is, on the one hand, an affectionate ode to the filmmaker and, on the other hand, a cruel lampoon. In doing so, the director is able to produce a film that is not only interesting in terms of story and character, but often very funny too.
I was genuinely quite surprised by the use of humour here. I expected from the plot-outline that the film would be incredibly dour and austere but that really isn't the case; with the mixture of lurid, almost B-movie style subject matter, revenge and farce managing to come together fairly well for the most part, as Truffaut tinkers with the expected codes and conventions of the thriller genre in much the same way that Antonioni did with the much superior masterpiece Blowup (1966). Like Blowup, the film can be seen as something of an "anti-thriller", or a film that sets up a number of potentially electrifying Hitchcockian like set pieces and then continually thwarts them - or indeed, forgets about them completely - as the mechanics of the plot push us further and further away from the more recognisable aspects of the story at hand. Whenever we imagine that a scene will play out to our usual expectations, with Hermann's orchestrations and the inventive camera work of Godard's regular cinematographer Raoul Coutard setting the scene, something else happens that throws the film completely off course. For example, in one particular scene, in which our central character stalks one of her victims through the junkyard where he works, we get Truffaut setting up a series of shots that continually teases us with the slow-build of the sequence, the cut-away to the gun and the impending moment before the expected gunshot and then - unexpectedly - the police arrive and arrest the man before any retribution can be taken.
This idea of setting up something potentially very thrilling and exciting, only to then subvert it by way of knowing farce and arch genre references is used throughout The Bride Wore Black, creating an odd juxtaposition between light comedy and cold-blooded murder that probably won't be to all tastes. Apparently the critics of the time hated it, and indeed, Truffaut himself would denounce the film as one of his worst just a few years later, perhaps as a reaction to the knowing tone and the flippant games being played with the more recognisable cinematic conventions. Obviously, Truffaut was a huge fan of Hitchcock, and indeed, one of the first critics to really look at his films within a serious historical context, but all the same, the satirical sideswipes at Hitchcock's work and the evidence of homage is often quite cutting and not always as complimentary as we might expect. The final shot for example, which is indeed very clever and filled with ideas of visual wit, is at the same time blunt to the point of almost going out of its way to lampoon the ending of some of Hitchcock's earlier films like Saboteur (1942). Then we have the ultimate revelation of the event that drove the character to seek revenge and the almost broadly comical rendering of the scene and the complete disregard for any kind of logic and reason.
Was the reason that Truffaut denounced the film simply because he felt it was uncomplimentary, almost mocking of Hitchcock's work, or did he simply feel that the games within the narrative and the combination of murder and farce were simply unsuccessful on this particular project? Regardless, the film succeeds on an entirely perverse level, as we watch Jeanne Moreau step into the role of the iconic "Hitchcock blonde" and plot bloody revenge on those that have wronged her. Some have drawn comparisons with Tarantino's epic Kill Bill (2003-2004), which are apt given the basic outline of the plot and certain elements of the iconography, though Tarantino claims to be unfamiliar with the film in question. Although the broader ramifications of the narrative remain vague and enigmatic even through to the end, the fun of The Bride Wore Black is not in its characters or storytelling capabilities, but in the gleeful subversion of the iconography of the Hollywood thriller by way of the Nouvelle Vague and of course, those constant allusions to Hitchcock and his work.
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