Les Biches

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The film with which Chabrol returned to 'serious' film-making after his series of delightful thriller/espionage spoofs, this was also the film in which he began transferring his allegiance from baroque Hitchcockery to the bleak geometry of Lang. A calm, exquisite study, set in an autumnal Riviera, of the permutational affairs of one man and two women which lead to obsession, madness and despair. Each sequence is like a question-mark adding new doubts and hypotheses to the circular (as opposed to triangular) relationship as a rich lady of lesbian leanings (Audran) picks up an impoverished girl (Sassard), and whisks her off to her St Tropez villa. There, much to the distress of her benefactress, the girl embarks on an affair with a handsome young architect (Trintignant), only to find in her turn that architect and lesbian lady are in the throes of a mutual passion. Impeccably performed, often bizarrely funny, the film winds, with brilliant clarity, through a maze of shadowy emotions to a splendidly Grand-Guignolesque ending.

By: TM

Release details

Duration: 99 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Claude Chabrol
Screenwriter: Paul Gégauff, Claude Chabrol
Cast: Stéphane Audran
Jacqueline Sassard
Jean-Louis Trintignant
Nane Germon
Henri Attal
Dominique Verdi
Serge Bento
Claude Chabrol

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

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The musical scoring (- orchestration -) is also quite beautiful. Pity about the wrong,dull turn which the film takes after the 1st half hour.

The initial portion of the film works brilliantly by introducing us to 2 strange, engaging girls : the rich Frederique from the South of France & the enigmatic Why waif. Their bizarre, outre liaison holds promise for an interesting film ; however, the film starts derailing when Why suddenly decides at a party that she likes men after all, or, at least, 1 specific male guest. She seduces him & makes a date for the following afternoon. The older girl suddenly & coincidentally decides that she loves this man also & seduces him on the following day, thereby resulting in a no-show for the aforementioned date. We are then supposed to believe that Why is willing to be a 3rd wheel in this menage-a-trois. Too many implausible coincidences & non sequiturs are present in this beautifully-shot film. ( SPOILER WARNING ) It resembles ' All About Eve ' . Particularly, the murder of the rich girl by the waif Why at the film's end is in this vein. It's not a bad film, but it fails to live up to its early promise.