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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > Sexuality > Fantasy > Time > French > La Belle Captive (1983)

La Belle Captive (1983)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C-      Film: B-



Alain Robbe-Grillet is one of the most significant writers of the French New Wave, best known for scripting Alain Resnais’ 1961 masterwork Last Year At Marienbad, one of the most significant works of the movement.  Its brilliant attempt to challenge time, space and memory is still ahead of most of its imitators and became preoccupations for the rest of the careers of both artists.  In 1983, Robbe-Grillet continued to direct his own such self-scripted films with La Belle Captive and though a classic did not result, it is still an interesting film.


Daniel Mesguich plays Walter, a man who becomes obsessed with and attracted to a mysterious woman (Gabrielle Lazure) named Marie-Ange, who he meets at a nightclub party.  Then, driving back, he finds her in the middle of the road bound and nearly hits her.  He picks her up, but things become more complicated when she turns up dead, then alive, then dead.  And who is the beautiful brunette on the motorcycle?


Derived from the art and writing of René Magritte, the film holds together much better than so many films (especially of late) trying to pull off the same thing, but the ending may just be too pat for what transpires throughout.  The actors are good, locations and set-ups appropriately dreamlike (to the extent of shooting some scenes soft) and is thoroughly throughout.  There are more than enough good moments to recommend you see it at least once.


The letterboxed 1.66 X 1 color image is not bad, lensed by cinematographer Henri Alekan.  I like the look of the film and it is rich, even when it is soft.  After this an HD and 35mm print would be nice to see.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono shows its age, but is also not bad and features some choice music that makes this more effective.  The only extra is the trailer, but this film deserves more and the success of this DVD will hopefully spawn more than this basic edition.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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