1960. France. Henri-Georges Clouzot. 130 min.
Monday, December 19, 2011, 4:30 p.m.
Theater 3 (The Celeste Bartos Theater), mezzanine, The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building
1960. France. Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Screenplay by Clouzot, Véra Clouzot, Simone Drieu, and others. With Brigitte Bardot, Charles Vanel, Sami Frey, Jacques Perrin. Leading French filmmakers of the 1950s and 1960s lined up to work with blonde bombshell Bardot—among them Roger Vadim, Claude Autant-Lara, Louis Malle, and Jean-Luc Godard—but Clouzot saw in her an opportunity to keep up with New Wave youth culture while also turning the sex goddess into a real actress. Amoral, self-destructive, and grievously misunderstood by society, Bardot’s character is put on trial for murdering her lover (Frey). As her private life is laid bare before a prurient public (the film is based on a sensational crime that Clouzot covered for a Parisian newspaper), Clouzot’s treatment of sex is coldly aestheticized, even punitive. Bardot considered it her finest performance, recalling years later that “Clouzot harassed me and cut me up in every possible imaginable way. I understood that it was for the film and wasn’t just stupid sadism. At the time, I pushed myself to the limit. I was fed up. I couldn’t do any more, I was really at the end of my tether, physically, morally, and nervously. But when I think about it today, I forget that and have no regrets.” La Vérité earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. Courtesy Sony Pictures Repertory. 130 min.