A sociology student (Andre Dussollier) writing his thesis on criminal women interviews a beautiful inmate named Camille (Bernadette Lafont) who has been jailed for murder. While listening to her recount her story, he finds himself deeply smitten with her, and dedicated to proving her innocence — but is she worthy of his adoration and trust?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Black Comedy
- Femmes Fatales
- Flashback Films
- Francois Truffaut Films
- French Films
Critical opinion seems fairly unanimous on this adaptation (by Francois Truffaut) of Henry Farrell‘s 1967 novel, with Time Out’s reviewer referring to it as “loud and crude”, and accurately naming it “Truffaut’s weakest movie, a black comedy which totally misfires”. Neither of the leads — either Dussollier’s hopelessly naive sociology student or Lafont’s calculating femme fatale — are anything close to likable, leaving us with nobody to root for and little interest in hearing Lafont relate her supposedly tragic background to Dussollier. Because it’s made clear to us from the beginning that Lafont is either lying and/or enormously deceptive, there is little point to learning more about her travails; we know that Dussollier is a dope for getting roped in, and we can see that he has nowhere to go but down. It’s especially disappointing to see Lafont — so appealing in her debut as the put-upon Marie in A Very Curious Girl (1969) — reduced to playing a comical tramp here. Charles Denner (star of Truffaut’s The Man Who Loved Women ) gives the only semi-dignified performance in the film, playing an exterminator smitten with (and prey to) Lafont’s dubious charms.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Charles Denner as Arthur
No; definitely feel free to skip this one. Not even recommended for Truffaut fans.