Saturday, November 27, 2010

1968 - LA PRISONNIERE, Clouzot's very odd and kinky final film

Henri-Georges Clouzot's final feature film is about bondage, submission and the kinetic art movement of the 1960's it doesn't really come together, the film isn't brave enough to go with Clouzot's ongoing theme of exploring the dark side of human nature.

Josee, the wife of an artist becomes involved with her husband's art dealer, Stan.  It seems that good old Stan likes posing women in submissive and bondage situations that he then photographs, but that's about as far as he goes.  Josee, for reasons that remain entirely unclear, decides she wants to go down this bondage road with Stan and enters into a rather bizarre relationship with him.  Eventually Josee and Stan become a couple but Josee falls in love with him and attempts to move their relationship towards a more conventional path.  Stan isn't really on the same page as Josee and things go downhill from there.  

La Prisonniere has some interesting scenes, after all this is a Clouzot film.  An encounter on a rooftop between Stan and Josee's husband, a car train wreck and a beautifully filmed scene at the sea shore with the couple standing on a rock getting soaked by ocean waves.  The sea shore scene looks very cool filmed in slow motion,  although two people getting really pelted with water seems a little silly.  La Prisonniere also picks up where Clouzot left off with the bizarre visual imagery he experimented with in his unfinished film  L'Enfer.

La Prisonniere fails because Clouzot like his character Josee can't decide how far he wants to go into the subculture of dominance and submission.  Clouzot seems to want to explore it but looks away in digust as he continues to get closer and closer to it.

106 minutes.

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