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L'Ange Noir

Brisseau s baroque melodrama has a conventional plot - a beautiful but mysterious femme fatale Stéphanie (Vartan, made-up to look like Kim Novak in Vertigo) is on trial for killing a gangster - but the writer/director attacks his material with a gusto that might have made Douglas Sirk blush. Piccoli is Stéphanie's all trusting magistrate husband, blissfully unaware of her double life or quite how often she's cuckolded him. Karyo is the lawyer defending Stéphanie, and he's also secretly in love with her. There are extravagant courtroom scenes, lavish parties with self-consciously overblown music and swooping camerawork. Between times, Brisseau throws in prurient Tinto Brass-style sex scenes, while mercilessly mocking the bourgeoisie by showing up the absurdity of their legal and social customs. The jolts in style are disconcerting and certain scenes verge on the kitsch, but this is still rich and heady fare.

Release details

Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jean-Claude Brisseau
Screenwriter: Jean-Claude Brisseau
Cast: Sylvie Vartan
Michel Piccoli
Tchéky Karyo
Alexandra Winisky
Bernard Verley
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