12 October 2015 | markwood272
Fails to deliver on its unoriginal promise
Saw this 10/11/15. Clouzot knew the game had changed considerably since his last completed film in 1960. His "La Prisonnière" represents an attempt to join the crowd. Unfortunately, the movie accomplishes little else beyond offering some very interesting photography bringing to mind other nearby films such as "Belle de Jour" (1967), "Two or Three Things I Know About Her" (1967) or "Blow-up" (1966). "La Prisionniere" looks as if the DP presented interesting visual ideas for Clouzot to work into a movie, somehow. I think a stronger movie would have had it the other way around.
Laurent Terzieff as Stan was apparently stuck with the role of the movie's go-to guy for inchoate forays into masochism and mild lesbianism. Elisabeth Wiener tries her best as his sub rosa subject, and Bernard Fresson is the mercenary, arty, and ultimately, chumpy husband.
For a director with Clouzot's reputation for cruelty to actors, the movie's theme of dominance and submission is disturbing but unsurprising. Where everyone else seemed to sense freedom in the 60's, Clouzot seems to have believed there was interesting darkness on the flip side.
Maybe he was not entirely wrong, but a film so conceived was not this one. Nothing is developed to the extent promised or necessary. The able cast cannot deliver more of a movie than Clouzot had designed. The dream sequence is little more than a post production doodle whose visual effects, unable to carry Clouzot's stillborn thematic material, merely look dated. Corman's 1967 "The Trip" played a similar game with greater success. The American's more modest goal of selling tickets seems to have had a better result than the aging French master's muddled quest for great cinema.