Thursday, March 31, 2011


God, I love this movie!  As I mentioned in my previous review for “The Tenant”, “Repulsion” is my favourite of all of Polanski’s films.  In fact it is one of my favourite movies of all time, it is simply outstanding.

The film is about a young girl who works in a beauty salon named Carole and her slow (and very disturbing) descent into madness.  While it is never said outright, it appears that Carole was abused by someone close to her when she was younger.  This has led her to have an absolute repulsion towards men, and with sex, which is what Carole relates men with.  Until now though, she has seemed to live a relatively normal life.  When the film begins though, Carole’s sister’s boyfriend has started to regularly stay overnight, so much so that he is leaving his toothbrush and straight-razor in the bathroom.  This disgusts Carole because the place she feels most at ease in, is being infiltrated by the thing that she fears most.  It is this, along with the fact that she can constantly hear the noises from her sister’s love-making, that is the catalyst for Carole’s breakdown.  Things start slowly with Carole being unable to concentrate at work and she begins to find herself withdrawing from a boy that she has been dating.  However it is when her sister goes on a week’s vacation with her boyfriend, leaving Carole by herself, that her terrifying journey into madness begins in earnest. 

The directorial choices that Polanski makes in an attempt for us, the audience, to feel what Carole is going through are outstanding and are some of his best work in his long career.  The whole story is told through Carole’s eyes and Polanski uses a number of different tricks and techniques to project just how scary losing your sanity must be.  The main and obvious thing that he does, to symbolize Carole’s mind cracking, is have the walls and roof crack around her.  These scenes can be very shocking especially on your first viewing of the film, particularly one crack which occurs when she turns on a light.  The wall cracks directly under the switch as she turns it on, startling her, because it is so unexpected and it is also very loud.

Speaking of the sound, it plays an enormous role in “Repulsion”.  As the majority of the film is dialogue-free, the sound design is used significantly to amplify the strange atmosphere, as well as at times being crucial to the plot.  For example, whenever Carole is in bed, the sound of a ticking clock is quite prominent.  I believe that this is what Carole used to hear when she was younger and was being abused.  She would lie in bed and be terrified that it was going to happen again that night.  However the ticking is always interrupted when the church bells ring (the church is opposite their courtyard), and these bells signal her hallucinations to begin, where strange men enter or try to enter her room, or just appear on her bed, where they then proceed to rape her.  Interestingly when these scenes occur and Carole is seen screaming, the sound is removed entirely with the exception of the ticking clock again, which illustrates that Carole feels like the abuse is going on forever.

The image of the church is interesting and a frequent one.  Carole is often seen looking out her window into the church where she witnesses the nuns playing games and going about their daily business.  I believe that you could interpret the significance of the church in two ways.  It can either be an attack on the church and religion (ie. If there is a God, where is he when Carole is being abused and why doesn’t he stop it?) or it could be seen in the opposite light, with Carole reaching out to God and using religion to get through the abuse.  Personally, I believe it is more of an attack on religion, because the rest of the film offers little hope and light for Carole, so it would fit better within the structure of this story.

Roman Polanski also uses images of decaying food in ways that are very important to “Repulsion”.  The food I’m talking about are the potatoes that she leaves out on the sink, and of course the (famous) skinned rabbit that Carole leaves on a plate, unrefrigerated on a table, near her phone.  The first thing these images do is represent Carole’s deteriorating mind which appears to get worse and worse as (coincidentally) the food gets more rotten.  The other thing these images do is, quite simply, give the audience a sense of how much time has passed between scenes.  As the film is distorted through Carole’s eyes, we can never be really sure of just how much time actually has passed and we become a little confused, but the food and especially the potatoes, give a good indication of that.

As Carole’s mind comes close to breaking completely, Polanski starts to mess around with the dimensions of the set.  For example, the once cramped bathroom now looks like a very long corridor with a bath at the end.  The small living room becomes huge with the furniture looking tiny in it (Polanski does actually change the scale of the furniture to help with the effect), and the narrow hallway suddenly becomes quite wide and very dark.  The hallway particularly scares Carole and when she walks down it, hands protrude from the walls, grabbing and fondling her.  Finally, the roof of her bedroom appears to be getting lower, as if her whole world is closing in on her.  All of these techniques are brilliant and so strange, as it takes your eyes a little while to adjust and actually realize what you are seeing.  Polanski would later use the effect of re-scaling a room and the props within it in a dream sequence in “The Tenant” and the impact of that scene is just as powerful as the one’s done in “Repulsion”.

The biggest contributor to the look and atmosphere of “Repulsion” is the work of cinematographer Gil Taylor.  This was the first time that Taylor had worked for Polanski and so good was their collaboration, that they worked together another two times (first on Polanski’s next film, “Cul-De-Sac” and on 1971’s “Macbeth”, this time in colour).  Taylor’s work here is exemplary, creating a world of deep and dark shadows that terrifies Carole (not to mention ourselves).  Obviously because the majority of the film is dialogue-free, the visuals must tell the story and to say that they exceed in their job is an understatement of the highest order.  This is an extremely visual film.  An interesting technique they used which contributes to the madness was photographing Carole in extreme close-ups while using very wide-angle lenses which created distortions to the image.  Also when the film begins it is much brighter in the house, but as she continues to sink into her madness, the shadows get longer and longer and her world gets darker and darker.

Catherine Deneuve plays Carol in the film and she is phenomenal.  At the time the film was being made, Deneuve was not the huge star that she is today, in fact she was relatively unknown at this stage, but in viewing this performance alone, it was safe to say that she was always going to be destined for greatness.  Also during this time, Deneuve’s English was not that great at all, and the fact that “Repulsion” is told through images more than dialogue clearly helped Deneuve out dramatically (the opposite, unfortunately, is true of her sister’s performance in Polanksi’s next film “Cul-De-Sac”).  Right from the start you can feel that something is not right with Carole, as Deneuve makes her appear very vacant and when it continues to get tougher for the poor girl, we actually find ourselves feeling very sad and terrified for her.  There is one image in the film I find particularly sad (and I’m not sure why exactly), and that is when we see Carole ironing her sister’s boyfriend’s singlet.  The camera slowly pans down until it is revealed that the iron isn’t even plugged in, but she continually moves the iron across the garment, as if in a trance of some sort.  I think it is just the loneliness of the shot that makes me feel an incredible sadness when I watch it.

I could honestly talk about this film for ages, but I think it is better to experience the film yourself, because it is just so perfect.  I do want to point out that, for that very reason, I have hidden a number of major plot points from this review.  Overall, this is a masterpiece from Roman Polanski, which is a stunning achievement from just his second film.  I cannot fault this film on any level and it sits very favorably amongst the other great black and white horror masterpieces of that time, including Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “Les Diaboliques”.  This is recommended viewing to anyone interested in cinema.

5 Stars.

Incidentally I should point out that my wife came with me to see this film and she hated almost every minute of it.  She is a product of today’s cinema, and just the fact that the film was shot in black and white almost sent her home.  Inexplicably she also felt that nothing happened during the film.  Oh well, we all have different tastes I suppose.  I mean, I didn’t get “Burlesque” like she did either.  For the record, she gave “Repulsion” one star.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The second film of this Polanski Retrospective is his 1976 film “The Tenant” (aka “Le Locataire”).  This film ranks just behind “Repulsion” as my favourite Polanski film, but this is the first time I was seeing it on the big screen in 35mm, and it was amazing.

This is such a demented little film, and fits into the genre of “psychological horror” which is a favourite of mine.  “The Tenant” is also the final film in Polanski’s “apartment” trilogy (the other two are “Repulsion” and “Rosemary’s Baby”), which although not conceived as a real trilogy, have been linked and branded by journalists due to their similar themes and the fact that all have to do with their main characters suffering some kind of breakdown while living in an apartment.

The story of “The Tenant” is about a man named Trelkovsky (played by Polanski himself), who rents an apartment after its previous tenant, Simone, committed suicide by jumping from its third storey window.  As a constant reminder of this tragedy, the glass roof that the girl fell through still has yet to be repaired.  Initially excited by the prospect of finding an apartment, Trelkovsky’s excitement soon disappears when he finds out just how rude and unreasonable his neighbours are.  If he makes the slightest sound, either the occupant above or below him will knock on their floor / ceiling in an attempt to make him quiet down.  He also becomes aware that if they do not like you, they will try to force you out, which becomes apparent one night when one of the neighbours visits him with a petition to sign about another neighbour they were trying to get rid of.  When Trelkovsky refuses to sign (on the grounds that this person has done nothing to him) he is told that he will now be watched more carefully, and soon enough, a complaint is made about him too.

It soon comes to the point that the place that he thought would be his haven becomes his hell, and he becomes convinced that his neighbours were behind Simone’s death, forcing her to commit suicide, and he is sure that they are trying to do the same to him.  As well as all this, other strange things seem to be occurring in the building such as people standing in the communal toilet (it is situated opposite Trelkovsky’s apartment and visible from his window) for hours without moving, just staring, and one time while moving his wardrobe, Trelkovsky finds a hole in the wall.  Inside the hole he discovers a human tooth wrapped in cotton wool.  What is going on in this apartment building?

I am not going to answer that question because the second half of the film is best when you know nothing about it, and this is definitely a film of two halves.  The first half of the film is actually really funny (it even includes a bit of slapstick, with Polanski walking into a door at one stage), but the whole time you can really feel that something is not quite right, something is amiss.  By the time the second half begins and Trelkovsky starts to crack, the atmosphere has completely changed – the comedy has gone (well the overt comedy has gone, there is still some wonderful black comedy throughout, if you like that sort of thing) and what is left is a dark and intense psychological horror film.  I know a lot of people (Polanski himself included) find the transition between the two halves to happen far too quickly which causes a jarring effect, but personally, it does not bother me at all.  I enjoy both halves of this amazing film, different as they are, buy if forced to choose, I would say that I prefer the second half because it is skewed more to my cinematic tastes by heading in a much darker direction than the first half.

Although the story can be broken down into halves, what does remain constant throughout the whole film is the level of expertise in the making of the film, and seeing this film immediately after “Knife In The Water”, it was interesting to note just how far Polanski had improved since his debut (and he was no slouch back then either).  Without a shadow-of-a-doubt “The Tenant” is Polanski’s best looking film, and this has to do with the fact that the cinematographer on the film is none other than Sven Nykvist.  His work here is gorgeous, as he really brings out all of the textures of the building (both interiors and exteriors), making us feel the dirt and grime of the place, which helps to bring us into this seedy world.  This was the only time that Nykvist and Polanski worked together which is a real shame because the work they achieved together is something I am sure both would be very proud of.  The opening shot of the film is just amazing (and I’m sure an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, although a much darker version of that film) as the camera pans over the entire exterior of the apartment building and it’s windows, until it ends in the foyer as Polanski enters the building to enquire about the vacancy.  It is such a tour de force shot, and it really sets the tone for the whole film, especially during a creepy moment when the camera passes a woman in a window (Simone), who then morphs into Polanski’s character.

Polanski’s decision to cast himself in the lead role turns out to be a great one, because he truly is fantastic as Trelkovsky, especially in the opening half of the film.  To be totally honest, I’m not sure that he pulls off the transformation of his character completely in the second half, but hell, you’ve got to give the man props for being brave enough to dress in drag and say the hilarious line “I’m pregnant”, while rubbing his belly.  Unfortunately Isabelle Adjani has little to do in the film (she does have a funny scene with Trelkovsky while they are watching Bruce Lee’s “Enter The Dragon”), which is a shame because she feels a little wasted, but I suppose the way that the story turns, and it becomes more internalized, it makes sense that her character has less to do in the second half of the film.

Overall I believe that “The Tenant” is Roman Polanski’s most under-rated film.  It is an absolutely brilliant and creepy film and if it wasn’t for “Repulsion”, would be my favourite film from this great director.  Add in the fact that Sven Nykvist’s cinematography is sublime and you have a true winner and another brilliant psychological horror film by Polanski, which he seems to be a master at.

4 ½ Stars.


After some slim pickings in the previous couple of Astor calendars, I was very happy when I received the latest calendar and saw that they were doing a mini Roman Polanski retrospective.  Over three weeks they were showing five of his classic films and what made it all the more better was that three of the five titles I had never seen on the big screen before.

The first film they screened was Polanski’s debut feature “Knife In The Water”, and it was one of the titles I hadn’t seen on the big screen.  As much as I enjoy “Knife In The Water”, it has never been one of my absolute favourites.  That said however, there is no doubt that this is a stunning debut from Polanski.

“Knife In The Water” starts with a married couple in a car, bickering, while on their way to their boat for a sailing trip they had planned.  While on the drive, they pick up a hitch-hiker and once they reach their destination, the husband asks the unnamed stranger if he would like to come aboard and join them on their journey.  As soon as the hitcher is on board, the husband, Andrzej, embarrasses him by showing him just how little he knows about sailing.  This angers the hitcher but he doesn’t retaliate in a violent matter, instead he tries to show off (in front of Andrzej’s wife, Kryztyna) in different ways such as climbing the mast to the top barefoot (something that Andrzej obviously cannot do), until the two men are constantly trying to one-up the other.  I’m sure all of this is done to try and gain the attention of the only female on board, but ironically she pays them little attention.  It isn’t long during these one-upmanships that the hitch-hiker reveals that he is carrying a large knife, and suddenly the atmosphere changes and it becomes more suspenseful.  You just never know whether these games the men are playing will erupt into violence and now with the addition of a knife on board, the tension is palpable.

I must admit that my own memory of “Knife In The Water” was quite a bit off in regards to what actually happens in the film.  I was sure that the knife did come into play, and quite violently, at the end, but this is not the case at all.  In fact the suspense comes from another place all together when the hitch-hiker is “accidently” knocked overboard.  From the beginning we know that he cannot swim, but with all the male posturing going on, Andrzej refuses to go in after him, because he is sure that the boy is lying.  When the hitcher does not resurface, Krystyna begins to taunt her husband (after being sick to death of the games the two men have been playing), and asks if he will truly be a man and go to the police and report the death, or will he pretend that the young boy did not exist and go on living his life.

The highlight of the film is the incredible script which was written by Polanski himself along with another Polish filmmaking heavyweight, Jerzy Skolimowski.  It tackles its subject in an interesting and quite subtle way, more in the form of these tense conversations rather than the actions of these two men.  It is interesting to note that “Knife In The Water” seems like the typical debut film, which often deal with limited characters and very few locations, in an attempt to keep budget costs down.  All this is true of “Knife In The Water” except Polanski being Polanski had to make it different and harder by shooting his debut film on water, which you would imagine would have been extremely difficult for an experienced director, but such is Polanski’s talent that he pulls this off amazingly.  The decisions he makes with some of his shots are brilliant and unexpected, showing very early in his career just how talented he was at composing his shots.  I must admit that I love shots where a character is in close-up in the foreground while there is action happening behind them in the background, and there are quite a few shots like this in “Knife In The Water”.

The actors all perform their roles adequately although I was a little shocked to learn that both Jolanta Umecka, (who plays Kryztyna), and Zygmunt Malanowicz, (who plays the hitch-hiker), were dubbed by someone else in post production.  However I am not shocked to learn that the hitch-hiker was dubbed by Polanski himself because when I was watching the film, I actually thought that his voice was so similar to that of Polanski’s.  Apparently Jolanta Umecka was very hard to work with, because she was not a trained actress and she found it very hard to emote.  However, ironically, whenever you ask anyone about “Knife In The Water”, she is the first thing they remember (which is no doubt due to her striking looks).  Interestingly, she created a first in Polish cinema too, because with this film she was the first actress to disrobe on camera in a Polish film.

Speaking of Poland, the film was not a success in Polanski’s homeland, in fact it was attacked quite brutally due to the fact that it was a new kind of film and it wasn’t like everything else being made there (most films of that time dealt with the atrocities of the past war).  Feeling unwelcome in his own country, Polanski left Poland after the failure of “Knife In The Water” and to this day, he has never made another film there, which ultimately was great for the rest of the world, as this was the catalyst that saw Polanski head down a path that would give us such classics like “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Chinatown”.  Who knows if these films would have existed if “Knife In The Water” was a success in Poland and Polanski choose to stay there longer?

Overall, while it is a fantastic debut film, and extremely well crafted (only the jazzy score really dates the film), this is not my favourite Polanski film, but anyone wanting to see the beginnings of a great cinematic talent and how he came to be, must not miss the chance to see this film.

3 ½ Stars.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Guest Review: Written by my wife.
I asked my husband if i could write a review for Burlesque because I loved it, and he hated it. He said no. So i've ignored him and written it anyway :)

As is so often the case in Hollywood these days, Popstars want a piece of every pie and cinema is at the top of the list. Christina Aguilera makes her cinematic debut in “Burlesque”, and while i’m not sure if the role was written for her, it’s hard to imagine any other ‘Actress’ with the pipes to pull it off.
Beginning in the small American town of Iowa, we meet Christina’s character “Ali” in a diner where she is a waitress. Desperate to get out of the dead beat town and move to the big city, Ali walks out on her job and buys a one way ticket to LA. Sound familiar? Of course it does, probably because we’ve all seen this movie before. Coyote Ugly anyone?
Ali is looking for work and stumbles across a Burlesque Lounge to which she is immediately endeared. She meets bartender “Jack” (Cam Gigandet) who directs her to club owner “Tess” (Cher) in an effort to get a job. Ali wants up on that stage!
This is the crux of the story and really all you need to know before seeing it. Burlesque is so much fun, it makes my heart sing. The colours, the music, the dancing, the atmosphere – it all makes me want to be a Burlesque dancer when I grow up.
Aguilera’s acting is fine, it’s not great, but it’s not terrible either. Her stage presence however, is amazing. I found her mesmerising and loved every single minute that she was on stage. I’ve heard the movie being described as a 2 hour X-Tina film clip, and that maybe so, but if you get caught up in the story, as I did, it’s not an issue.
A massive highlight for me was the always amazing Stanley Tucci. He plays a gay costume designer/right hand man for Tess, and his on-screen relationship with Cher was so fun to watch. They really looked like they were best friends – who knows, maybe they are.
Cam Gigandet is gorgeous. Eric Dane is charming. Kristen Bell is unremarkable, however I think that’s her role and not her fault. Peter Gallagher got all us old “OC” fans excited, and Cher was...well, Cher. Her voice is unmistakable and she definitely has a screen presence, however her relationship with Tucci was her highlight for me.
There are 2 scenes in the film that just don’t work. Both of them being impromptu performances by both Aguilera and Cher. They are totally unnecessary and have obviously been done just because they are who they are. My mum told me that she read somewhere Cher had threatened to pull out of the movie if they didn’t keep her song in the final cut. Whether or not that’s true, I don’t know, but the scene definitely felt wrong.
Overall, Burlesque was so much fun. I saw it in the cinema 3 times (once with a girlfriend, by myself and then my mum!) and loved every minute of it. Don’t take it to seriously or expect any Oscar performances and you’ll have a good time.
If you love Glee, you’ll love Burlesque.
4 Stars.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

MANON (1949)


Made in 1949, this was only Henri-Georges Clouzot’s fourth film, and his second since his two year ban from filmmaking.  The film is about the doomed love affair between a young girl named Manon and a soldier named Robert in post-war France. The couple first met when Robert saves Manon from having her head shaved by a mob of women, as punishment for her “collaborating” with the Germans.  Although he saves Manon from the head shaving, Robert is still disgusted in her and with her dealings with the enemy and arrests her, explaining that she will have a fair trial for her crimes.  Manon does what she knows best and proceeds to flirt with the soldier in an attempt to be released, but Robert will have nothing of it.  However when his superior comes looking for Manon to take her away, he finds himself hiding her, claiming that he let her go.  Knowing he will be in serious trouble for this act, both Robert and Manon flee and end up falling in love.

All this is told in flashback, as the film begins aboard a boat which is smuggling Jews into Palestine.  While hiding the Jews on a lower level of the boat, the sailors come across an extra two stowaways, Manon and Robert.  The captain of the ship quickly realizes that Robert is a wanted man for murder and detains him.  However, with nothing to do until the boat docks, he listens to the lover’s sad story.

The story continues with the couple living in Paris, working low paying jobs and barely surviving.  Manon refuses to live in poverty and as such, cheats on Robert constantly with rich men in return for money or gifts.  She is still in love in Robert, but she convinces herself that this is survival, and she continues down the same path as when France was occupied by the Germans, doing the same thing now as she did back then to survive.  Initially, Robert seems to be oblivious to all of this, when one night Manon comes home with a huge ring on her finger, obviously worth more than they could ever afford.  This arouses his suspicions which only get stronger when he goes to visit Manon at her workplace one day, only to be told that she hasn’t worked there for two months.  Not knowing how Manon spends her days anymore, Robert decides to follow her (in a scene very reminiscent to one in Clouzot’s aborted project “L’Enfer”).  He follows her all the way to her new workplace – a brothel.  He is furious and wants to kill her, but ultimately his love is stronger than his hate, and the couple stays together.  However, this becomes a regular cycle in their lives with Manon cheating and Robert forgiving her, just so he doesn’t lose her, but when Manon finally decides that she has had enough and attempts to leave, it results in Robert murdering a man who is trying to detain him long enough for Manon to be able to escape.  After this brutal act, Manon actually sees this as a symbol of just how much Robert loves her and finally gives herself over to him completely, once and for all.  From here on in, the couple is doomed.

It goes without saying that Henri-Georges Clouzot is one of my favourite French directors (very close with Jean-Pierre Melville) and prior to seeing this film I had heard a lot about it, with some people claiming it to be Clouzot’s masterpiece (a bold statement of a director who has both “Les Diaboliques” and “Wages Of Fear” on his resume), so my expectations were high.  Unfortunately these expectations were not fully met, although the problem has nothing to do with Clouzot himself.  His direction, as usual, is superb, it just looks and feels like a Clouzot film, and the story of this bleak post-war world where no-one is truly innocent anymore, suits his style perfectly.  His use of shadows and strange camera angles create an amazing sense of doom, where you know that this story is not going to end happily, and it is dark to the very end.  Even the scenes of love have the over-riding feel of dread looking down upon them.  The main problem with the film is Cecile Aubrey’s performance of the title character.  She just doesn’t impress at all, as she makes the character seem a far too lightweight.  She needed to portray Manon a little stronger, especially in the scenes when she is cheating on Robert.  As mentioned earlier, Manon is engaging in these sexual acts as a way to survive, and in a sense she has to create a wall around herself and not let the real world (or emotions) in or the reality of what she is doing will break her.  This is why I feel Cecile Aubrey needed to harden up Manon in these scenes, but unfortunately she comes across very airy-fairy, and almost innocent.  Once Manon lets that wall down, and lets Robert in (as well as the rest of the world, thus sealing the couple’s fate), I feel that Aubrey’s performance is more in line with the character.  However, considering that all of the other performances around her (Michel Auclair, Serge Reggiani, etc) are so well done, it is a shame that she stands out so much.

What also stands out in “Manon”, and this time in the positive (and what may be the reason it has such a good reputation), is the amazing final ten minutes of this film, which is where Michel Auclair is giving his opportunity to shine. (BEWARE THAT FROM HERE ON, I WILL BE TALKING ABOUT THE ENDING OF “MANON” SO IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE IT YOURSELF, PLEASE SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH).  After reaching Palestine with the smuggled Jews and having to cross the desert to freedom, Manon and Robert share their only moment of happiness together when they come across an oasis, where they separate from the group and spend a quiet five minutes together.  It is such a beautiful moment and one Manon wants to last forever, however it is not to be, as they must continue their trek across the desert, which ends very quickly when they are attacked by marauding Arabs.  Through all the gunfire, while attempting to flee, Manon is hit in the back and dies.  A shattered Robert picks up his wife’s lifeless body and continues to carry it through the desert.  It is here where the film is absolutely amazing and Clouzot is at the top of his game.  The finale of “Manon definitely ranks as some of the best work he would ever do in his career.  As Robert gets more and more distressed, as well as thirsty and exhausted, he starts to see the cactuses as ghosts from his past.  It is like they are looking down on him and taunting him.  He eventually starts to imagine that his wife’s corpse is talking to him, which is both so romantic and heartbreaking.  Eventually, he faces facts and realizes that he cannot go on and survive while carrying Manon on his back, and he decides to bury her.  The way that Clouzot shoots this scene is so gorgeous and emotional, as Robert cannot bring himself to cover her face.  The image of Cecile Aubrey totally buried in the sand, with the exception of her face, is forever burned into my brain, it is such a stunning and beautiful image.  It is also at this moment that Robert realizes that this is the only time that he has had Manon to himself.  It is the perfect finale to this tale.

As I mentioned earlier, this was Clouzot’s second film since he was banned for making films for two years.  The reason behind this ban, was because of his “collaboration” with the Germans, when he made the film “Le Corbeau” which was funded by a German company during the time of the occupation.  It appears that because of his own persecutions, “Manon” is a very personal film to Clouzot and he wanted to show the world how during and after the war, no-one is innocent.  Overall, while I did not love this film, I did like it and as is the norm with Clouzot’s films, it is expertly put together.  The end of “Manon” is one of his greatest achievements and it is a shame that I didn’t feel the same about the film as a whole.  Still this is a Clouzot film, so it is definitely worth checking out.

3 Stars.