Woman in Chains (1968)
aka La Prisonniere
Country: France | Italy | Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Language: French | Subtitles: English (Optional, embedded in Mkv file)
Aspect ratio: Widescreen 1.66:1 | Length: 106mn
Bdrip H264 Mkv – 1200×720 – 24fps – 4.37gb
In this grim drama, a woman leaves the security of her stable affair with an artist to embark on a fling with a troubled and complex art dealer. Unfortunately his complexity includes impotence related to childhood experiences with his mother and a penchant for sadomasochistic photography.
Opening with the most eerie and perverse credit sequence you are ever likely to see, HG Clouzot’s final film veers from claustrophobic mind games to swooning romance to 60s Pop Art psychedelia – without ever once losing the iron grip that was its director’s trademark. It’s Clouzot, and not the prolific but overrated Claude Chabrol, who deserves to be called ‘the French Hitchcock.’ Yet Clouzot, uninhibited by the demands of Hollywood ‘box office,’ was able to plumb depths of misanthropy and depravity that Hitch could scarcely dream of.
In La Prisonniere, he achieves the complete emotional and moral annihilation of all three protagonists. A young wife (Elisabeth Wiener) grows bored with her philandering artist husband (Bernard Fresson) and falls under the spell of a voyeuristic gallery owner (Laurent Terzieff) – who dabbles in kinky S&M photos on the side. If that sounds like a recipe for disaster…well, it is – but never quite in the ways we predict. The flamboyantly deranged Terzieff may, in fact, be the sanest character in this twisted triangle. So how crazy are the heroine and her hubby…?
Suffice it to say that, having produced an erotic and psychological thriller that outclasses any of Chabrol’s more famous efforts of the late 60s, Clouzot then enters the tormented mind of his heroine – in a psychedelic ‘head trip’ to rival Kubrick’s finale to 2001. A pity that Elisabeth Wiener (a forgotten 60s beauty in the style of Charlotte Rampling or Marianne Faithfull) never quite suggests the depths of anguish her role demands. Still, the magnificent Terzieff supplies angst enough for the whole cast. And he’s not even the mad one…