MANON
1949, 96 min, Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot

One of director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s most neglected masterpieces and winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1949, MANON was his blistering response to the hypocritical reaction in France to LE CORBEAU. Updating Abbe Prevost’s classic novel to postwar France, the film stars newcomer Cécile Aubrey (sex-kitten precursor to Brigitte Bardot) as a prostitute who is condemned as a collaborationist for sleeping with Germans during the war. She’s rescued from the noose by a smitten resistance fighter (Michel Auclair) – but once the couple flees from Normandy, Manon’s desire for the good things in life leads her directly to Parisian black markets and brothels, a debauched course that can result only in self-destruction. With Serge Reggiani. In French with English subtitles.


THE TRUTH
LA VERITÉ
1960, Sony Repertory, 130 min, France/Italy, Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Brigitte Bardot tops her amazing work with Godard and Vadim in this scorching portrait of amour fou. She stars as Dominique, a hedonistic free spirit on trial for the murder of her lover, musician Sami Frey. Clouzot breaks ground in his fearless look at private insecurities, revealing what supposedly constitutes a “sordid” lifestyle, and why it is so threatening to bourgeois society. Co-written by Clouzot and his wife, Véra (star of DIABOLIQUE). Winner of the 1961 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. In French with English subtitles.


THE WAGES OF FEAR
LE SALAIRE DE LA PEUR
1953, Janus Films, 131 min, France, Italy, Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Later remade as William Friedkin’s SORCERER, Pauline Kael called this nail-biting thriller “the most original and shocking French melodrama of the ’50s.” When one of its South American wells catches fire, an oil company hires four drivers to transport the nitroglycerin needed to extinguish it. Yves Montand stars as one of the men desperate enough to carry the explosive cargo over very rough mountain roads. In French with English subtitles.


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