Thursday, August 30, 2012

VIOLETTE NOZIERE (French) (1978)

‘I don't try to sympathize with my characters, I just try to empathize with them to try understand them. If i sympathize with my characters, I would make idealized romantic characters out of them, which i don't do. I just do normal characters who are not so sympathetic but just the way they are. I think I do this in films that are made in shape of question and not an answer. They just try to make a very open statement and it is down to anyone's subjectivity to find his own answer to that... Acting is nothing but a way of living out one’s insanity.’   - Isabelle Huppert

With watching every next Chabrol films, I’m convinced that Isabelle Huppert one of the brilliant French actress who played some of the most unusual characters on screen and this is one of her gem of performance. The film is based on controversial scandalous true crime story that shocked the France in 1930 with headline like “An 18 years old girl poisoned her parents.” Living disenchanted from her parents teenage Violette lies, cheat, steal money from her parents and lives double life. At night she becomes a secret whore who sleeps with multiple partners. She’s suffering from venereal disease and fall in love with a wrong guy who’s after her money than love.

Character study of this sort demands two strong things- a stellar performance from lead actor and its rendering of narration. And Chabrol got both things here so perfectly. What is intriguing here is the way Chabrol represented the character of Violette with short rushes of flashback as nightmare. It’s complex narrative manages to make the audience wonder what’s true and what’s lie about her allegation regarding her father molesting her. It represented on screen one of the most brilliant representation of teenage psychosis. There’s quite a resemblance of Madam Bovary in her character, as she’s dreams for right man and ending up as wrong one with a despicable crime.

The film features two inseparable dames of Chabrol cinema together as mother and daughter. His personal muse Stephane Audron is here pitted against absolutely talented discovery Isabelle Huppert. And as Audran is getting old, Huppert who played the lead here in her first collaboration with Master gave one of her best act of lifetime. Gradually she became a perfect replacement to portray those unusual shrewd and strong woman characters of Chabrol films. Huppert won best actress award at Cannes for bringing on screen an absolutely vulnerable and fragile persona of woman on screen who committed homicide at home. 

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