26 February 2005 | dbdumonteil
Alain Jessua :an accursed director?
Alain Jessua has made some of the most disturbing movies of a generally tame French cinema (mainly in the seventies and early eighties unless some "avant-garde" drivel like "themroc" counts). Barely ten movies in almost forty years.His best works are to be found between 1972 and 1982,his most fruitful decade which begins with "traitement de choc" and encompasses forgotten works such as "les chiens " "Armaguedon" and "paradis pour tous" . "Traitement de choc" is his towering achievement though:and not only because Delon and Girardot are completely naked for one sequence by the sea .There's much more substance to find here.The core of movie is the fear of dying ,and when you see so many people worship their body today,you cannot deny this flick was ahead of its time.
In a strange clinic , doctors Delon and Duchaussoy make people look younger ,thanks to animal cells.That's what they say.Their patients set up a small community of happy few .Girardot who has been ditched by her partner and who comes to think she begins to get old enters the place.Little by little,strange things happen:a lot of the staff (migrant workers) are sent back home because they've got the homesick blues.That's what they say.One of her friend commits suicide because he was broke and could not afford this luxury anymore.That's what they say.The tension increases and in the last fifteen minutes ,"traitement de choc" becomes a true horror film.(One should note it was made the same year as "Solyent Green").
"Traitement de choc" is the selfishness of the bourgeoisie ,the power of money,the eternal dream of perpetual youth which haunts all of us ,man's exploitation of his fellow man (in every sense of the term)."Shock therapy" indeed.