Monday, August 20, 2012

LES BICHES (French) (1968)

Just like most of French New Wave auteurs, it’s not content but form and the individual style that matters in Chabrol’s cinema. This erotic and sensuous ‘Menage a trois’ is slow and moody psychological study of its two alter ego bourgeoisie dames. It’s a chance meeting on Paris bridge that brought the instinctual relations between two dames- a rich bitch Frederique and a street artist with queer name Why. The rich one took her to her lavish home and they are happy enjoying each other’s company. Conflict occur with the entry of a man named Paul who dated and slept with Why. Frederique tried to spy them and the very next morning she went to see Paul. The chemistry keeps playing shifting sexual tension between the trio for the rest of the film.

I just love the way Chabrol portrays his characters with certain kind of enigma and moody charm while maintaining slow brooding internal conflict and he did justice in most of his films. He photographed it like a sensuous ethereal poetry without showing any explicit nudity even though the subject is too demanding. Jealousy and obsession play its tune amid sensuous tension between almost all of five characters, including those two annoying idiotic men doing all sorts of morbid and irritating act to molest the beautiful new comer Why. But primarily it’s focused between the rivalry of two dames played with aplomb chemistry by Chabrol’s real and reel life muse Stephane Audran and extremely beautiful Jaqueline Sassard.. Young and dashing Jean Louis Trintignant serves as catalyst here. I just love Audran in Chabrol films, she’s what Anna Karina to Godard’s cinema.

There are many memorable scenes I can’t wipe out easily even after finishing the film. Especially that poker game scene or the brilliant scene where the trio is in intoxication, the man is narrating a tale about wisdom seeker, the record is playing same operatic music and they started embracing one another…we immediately sense the brooding instinctive tension leading towards tragedy in the climax. 

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