31 May 2018

STUDIOCANAL PRESENTS: HENRI-GEORGES CLOUZOT'S 'LA PRISONNIERE,' aka 'WOMAN IN CHAINS.' (1968) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




LA PRISONNIERE aka WOMAN IN CHAINS. (1968) DIRECTED BY HENRI-GEORGES CLOUZOT. STARRING ELIZABETH WIENER AND LAURENT TERZIEFF.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

LE CORBEAU, QUAI DES ORFEVRES and LA PRISONNIERE (a trio of films from Henri-Georges Clouzot) are available to buy now as part of STUDIOCANAL'S VINTAGE WORLD CINEMA COLLECTION, in conjunction with ORGANIC PUBLICITY. This is a showcase of iconic films from across the globe, all fully restored and featuring brand-new extra content. New 4k restorations from the director known as the French Alfred Hitchcock are out now on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Download.

Ooooooh Betty...! This one ain't half kinky. It's a sexy French fetish film along the lines of PEEPING TOM or BELLE DU JOUR, the latter the work of Luis Bunuel and the former of Michael Powell, the Powell half of Powell and Pressburger, who made such films together as the superb A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.

It's Henri-Georges Clouzot's last film and the only one he made in colour. It's a brilliant vibrant colour as well, which makes the shocking scenes seem all the more shocking somehow. Colour is more important to a film than we might think.

Alfred Hitchcock was right, dead right, to make his horror masterpiece PSYCHO in stark black-and-white, but the aforementioned PEEPING TOM, based around an equally grim topic, works better in colour. A director can usually be trusted to know which mode is best for his or her own film. Thank God, lol.

The female star of the film is Josée, a beautiful red-headed young French woman who's married to Gilbert. Gilbert is a nearly-successful artist who sells his sculptures and other pieces of modern art to a chap called Stan Hassler, who is super-rich and owns his own art gallery.

Josée and Gilbert have an 'open relationship,' an 'understanding,' which seems to mean that Gilbert gets to sleep around as much as he likes, for example, in the film he sleeps with a female art critic who might give him a good review.

I don't get the feeling that Josée is happy about this, but she's agreed to it now and so she feels she's stuck. Of course, it never occurs to her to talk to Gilbert and tell her that she's changed her mind about their 'open' marriage. 

Communication, that's what's missing here, folks. Good old-fashioned communication. Of course, they didn't have texting or tweeting back then so God knows how they ever got anything done, lol. Back then they had this weird thing called talking to each other but I'm not sure how it worked. No devices were used to communicate things, just the human voice, and no buttons were pressed whatsoever. Sounds like a rum do to me.

Anyway, one night, Josée gets invited back to gallery owner Stan's flat for a drink after an exhibition, the one where Gilbert rudely disappears to bed the art critic. She accidentally- or was it an accident on Stan's part, or was it deliberate?- discovers that he has a penchant for photographing naked women in sexually submissive poses. He likes 'em bound and chained...

Josée is shocked at first, then curious. Stan is, quite literally, tall, dark and handsome, with a naturally domineering manner. A woman would have to be blind not to find him attractive, or at least notice him. I fancied the Continental arse off of him myself. Josée can't help but be curious about what it would be like to be naked and helpless in front of Stan, doing Stan's bidding.

Stan's no slouch. He very quickly picks up on Josée's curiosity and, from that point on, he calls the shots in their developing relationship. He bullies and badgers the increasingly confused young woman to get involved in his fetish. When one of Stan's nude models comes round to his flat to pose for Stan, Josée agrees to stay and watch the session...

Stan's depraved activities and lifestyle have opened up a Pandora's Box of exciting new feelings for Josée. She loves the idea of being naked before him, submissive to him and humiliated by him but, like every other silly little girl before her, she makes the colossal mistake of falling in love with Stan, and the even bigger one of expecting him to love her back. She thinks that they can do their kinky sex fetish thing within the context of a loving, normal relationship. Is she out of her freakin' mind or what?

Stan is virtually incapable of love. There's a strong suggestion here that he's impotent and that the kinky photography is the only way he can express himself sexually. He feels like a freak, an outsider, someone for whom love is not meant to happen.

He's probably terrified at the thought of really opening himself up to a woman, even one as loving and giving as Josée. Hiding behind his camera is all he knows how to do. I reckon that he was damaged in some way during his childhood. That's where most of these fetishes take root.

I knew a guy once whose mother had left his father when he, this guy, was only a baby. Not unnaturally, he felt abandoned by her his whole life. He grew up unable to have sex unless the woman was bound and gagged from head to foot. It didn't take a genius to work out that he didn't trust a woman not to run away from him unless she was fully incapacitated.

My relationship with him ended badly. After he'd permitted me a glimpse of his complicated fetish world, he panicked and ran away. He'd shown me too much of his secret self, he figured, and he couldn't bring himself to see me again. Probably just as well it ended when it did. You might not believe this but other people's fetishes can get pretty bloody boring after a surprisingly short time...!

Anyway, can things work themselves out amicably between Stan, Josée and Gilbert, or are all three of them- excuse the pun- on a hiding to nothing? I want to add that I don't feel that Stan is a dirty pervert, like Gilbert thinks. Poor Stan loathes himself and has contemplated suicide many times. 

He can't help his fetish, any more than it can really help him. He is what his messed-up childhood made him. He's lonely and miserable and feels apart from the rest of society. Oh God, I want to help fix him so much! Good job he's only a fictional character in a fifty-year-old movie or I'd be up to my tonsils in yet another disastrous fetish-based relationship...

LE CORBEAU, QUAI DES ORFEVRES and LA PRISONNIERE (a trio of films from Henri-Georges Clouzot) are available to buy now as part of STUDIOCANAL'S VINTAGE WORLD CINEMA COLLECTION, in conjunction with ORGANIC PUBLICITY. This is a showcase of iconic films from across the globe, all fully restored and featuring brand-new extra content. New 4k restorations from the director known as the French Alfred Hitchcock are out now on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Download.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com












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