1968. France. Henri-Georges Clouzot. 106 min.
Friday, December 23, 2011, 4:30 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
1968. France. Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Screenplay by Clouzot. With Laurent Terzieff, Elisabeth Wiener, Bernard Fresson, Dany Carrel. A lonely, morose art gallery owner with a penchant for sadomasochistic role-playing and kinky photo sessions introduces an avant-garde painter’s wife to a secret world of degrading, voyeuristic pleasures. Inspired by the pulsating geometries and colors of Pop, Op, and kinetic art, La Prisonnière has a kind of delirious, schizoid beauty, and anticipates the films of Dario Argento and Mario Bava (interestingly, Hitchcock was planning his own color experiments at the time in an unrealized project called Kaleidoscope). Paul Schrader, who admired the perversity and desperation of Clouzot’s last film, astutely observed in 1969 that “La Prisonnière is strewn with the wreckage of instinctive genius. When instinctive film artists have passed their chronological niche they either parody themselves (like Hitchcock or Hawks), or set out for new fields of action at the risk of complete failure. It is much more interesting to watch the later work of Clouzot than Hitchcock. At least Clouzot goes down swinging.” Courtesy Tamasa Distribution. 106 min.